Past the Shallows

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Past the Shallows
Past the Shallows.jpg
AuthorFavel Parrett
PublisherHachette, Australia
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Followed byWhen the Night Comes 

Past the Shallows (2011) is a novel by Australian author Favel Parrett. It was shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award. It has been published in Australia, the UK, the US, Germany and Italy.

Plot summary[edit]

Past the Shallows is a hauntingly beautiful story of the bond of brotherhood and the fragility of youth. Told with an elegant simplicity, this is the story of two brothers growing up in a fractured family on the wild Tasmanian coast. The consequences of their parents' choices shape their lives and ultimately bring tragedy to them all. Harry and Miles live with their father, an abalone fisherman, on the south-east coast of Tasmania. With their mum dead, they are left to look after themselves. When Miles isn't helping out on the boat they explore the coast and Miles and his older brother, Joe, love to surf. Harry is afraid of the water. Everyday their dad battles the unpredictable ocean to make a living. He is a hard man, a bitter drinker who harbours a devastating secret that is destroying him. Unlike Joe, Harry and Miles are too young to leave home and so are forced to live under the dark cloud of their father's mood, trying to stay as invisible as possible whenever he is home. Harry, the youngest, is the most vulnerable and it seems he bears the brunt of his father's anger.


  • Dedication: To Linda - for always listening.
  • Epitaph: "It would be vain of me to attempt to describe my feelings when beheld this lonely harbour lying at the world's end, separated as it were from the rest of the universe - 'twas nature and nature in her wildest mood..." - Admiral D'Entrecasteau, 1792


  • Juliette Hughes in The Sydney Morning Herald found the novel "an impressive debut" with the author having "a real voice, with power to evoke feeling, place and character."[1] Louise Swinn in The Australian noted that the book "is a harrowing tale that doesn't shy from the brutal reality at the thin end of the economy". She went on to say that the book was 'clearly the work of a talented new novelist.'[2]
  • Praise for the work–
    • 'finely crafted literary novel ... genuinely moving and fill of heart' The Age
    • 'a small gem of a story' Who Weekly
    • 'a rare work of fiction' Good Reading
    • 'So real, so true - this novel sweeps you away in its tide' Robert Drewe

Awards and nominations[edit]