Blueback: A Contemporary Fable

Tim Winton, Author Scribner Book Company $14 (96p) ISBN 978-0-684-84565-4
This thin volume doesn't aspire to the mature complexity of the talented Australian author's The Rider. Though the language is lyrical, Winton pares it down, deliberately simplifying his prose in the service of a clearly articulated call for ecological responsibility. Abel Jackson lives in isolated area of Australia between a national park and the sea, where he helps his mother dive for abalone; his father is dead. When he's 10, he encounters a huge, magnificent blue grouper he names Blueback, a fish legendary for its cleverness and daring. Danger arrives in the form of a vicious fisherman whose predatory methods despoil the bay and put Blueback at risk. Though Abel's mother manages to drive the fisherman away, Abel learns that ""there was nothing in nature as cruel and savage as a greedy human being."" Over the years, unprincipled developers, pollution and other man-made disasters threaten the bay's pristine beauty before Abel's mother persuades legislators to declare the area a sanctuary. Abel, now a marine biologist, decides to abandon his international career to devote his life to the priceless natural domain where Blueback continues to swim--and to bond with another generation of Jacksons. The book is perhaps more suitable for YA readers than adults, but Winton pulls deftly on the heartstrings as he narrates this quiet tale. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998
Release date: 03/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-74214-543-3
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