Shepherd’s Hut Discussion

Tim Winton (Small)

We had so much to talk about last night’s meeting with Tim Winton’s best selling book The Shepherd’s Hut. First we tried to describe the book using words such as compelling, evocative, character-centred, complex, thought-provoking, bittersweet, bleak, small-town, austere, stark, thoughtful, uncomfortable and powerful. Then we spoke about the characters – the teenage boy Jaxie Clackton, the priest Fintan McGillis, Shirley (mother), Captain (father) and Lee.

We also talked about the religious connotations, Jaxie’s point of view and small town behaviour. There was also discussion about the meaning of the title and it’s significance to the book. We also discussed the reasons why the priest was banished to the bush and how Tim Winton left it up to the reader to decide if the ending was hopeful or doomed.

Pageturners rated the book mostly 4 out of 5 stars with a 2 and a 3 in the mix. The reasons for the dislikes included the violence and the language which some found disturbing.

For more about the author listen to the Better Reading Tim Winton interview podcast and/or the ABC Radio interview with Tim Winton and Richard Glover.

**The next book for discussion is Macbeth by Jo Nesbo – part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series where writers are asked to reimagine a Shakespeare tale – on Wednesday 13 June at Orange City Library at 5.30pm.

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