Peter Temple: The Broken Shore

Festive Tasks Master Update Post HERE


Festive Tasks, Door 1 — Southern Hemisphere: Read a book set in the Southern Hemisphere, or that has a beachy scene on the cover.

This is the first book of Peter Temple’s second series, after the Jack Irish books (set in Melbourne); here, featuring a burned-out cop named Joe Cashin, who has returned to the place where he grew up — a [fictional] small town on the coast of Western Victoria — to lick his wounds and, while doing so, man the town’s one-person police station and fix up his broken-down childhood home.

Temperamentally and in terms of his past history, Cashin is a brother in spirit to Jack Irish: one a burned-out cop, the other one a disbarred lawyer and recovering alcoholic, both seeking refuge in manual labor in the struggle against their inner demons (Jack Irish’s passion is intricate woodwork); indeed, but for the change of scenery, one wonders why Temple felt it necessary to create a new character to tell this particular story to begin with.  (And even in terms of setting, the necessity is not immdiately apparent, as Joe Cashin finds himself back in Melbourne in the latter part of The Broken Shore, whereas Jack Irish spends a good deal of time in the rural splendors not only of Victoria but also the neighboring provinces.)  Oh, yes — and while Jack Irish hangs around with horses every so often, as his one steady job consists in doing the legwork for a major mover and shaker in the Australian horse racing scene, Joe Cashin’s constant companion are his dogs, who in fact get star billing in the book’s opening scene.

Character similarities aside, this is an engaging tale of corruption, rural prejudice and racism, directed against members of Australia’s indigenous people as much as against other outsiders of society, and ending in a look at yet another aspect of society’s sordid underbelly (with overtones of Ian Rankin’s Dead Souls, Lorenzo Carcaterra’s Sleepers, and interestingly, also another recent read of mine, Martin Edwards’s Gallows Court), told in Temple’s terse, clipped, pull-no-punches trademark style; not one bit more cheerful than the Jack Irish books, but well-observed and (for all I can judge, which from a distance of several decades admittedly isn’t a lot) probably only too accurate.

For an extra treat, have a listen to the audio version narrated by Rupert Degas — though be warned, this isn’t the way you should first encounter the book, as the audio is an abridged one, and — besides the fact that Temple’s style doesn’t easily lend itself to abridgements anyway, as he really does make every word count — whoever did the abridgement cut out a fair bit of the material on Cashin’s backtround, which makes it a bit hard to get into the story and find your initial bearings.  So the audio is best enjoyed after you’ve actually read the book in another medium.

2 thoughts on “Peter Temple: The Broken Shore

  1. Not a bad setting to lick wounds and fixer-up some things🚨🐬 I understand Australia’s indigenous people have been treated horribly, similar to Native Americans here in the U.S. Are the author and protagonists sympathetic to this outsider population?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cats Fun and Games

Santa Cats

Festive Tasks Master Update Post HERE Task 3: In honor of the depiction of Santa in Australian-style clothing, dress up your dog (or cat), or just use photoshop or another photo editing program, to dress up one of your pets as the Australian version of Santa Paws. Post the picture here – the zanier, the […]

Read More
Fun and Games Literature Reviews

Margaret Oliphant: The Library Window

Festive Tasks Master Update Post HERE   Task 3: “Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories,” humorist Jerome K. Jerome wrote in his 1891 collection, Told After Supper. “Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about […]

Read More
Cooking - Food - Drink Fun and Games Lifestyle

Festive Tasks: Door 17 – Holiday Food (Tasks 1 – 3)

Festive Tasks Master Update Post HERE As for the other squares where I’ve completed several tasks in a single post (Gifts, Holiday Shopping, and Correspondence), I’m dividing this into several pages, one per task.   Task 1: What’s your favorite seasonal drink? Can be alcoholic or virgin, complicated cocktails, festive punches / noggs or just […]

Read More
%d bloggers like this: