The Curlew’s Eye by Karen Manton
‘It struck her that in all these years, every highway and meandering track they’d taken together had been heading towards this destination. A shack perched halfway up a hill in an other-world of bizarre shadow plants and dark sentinel trees . . . Every road had been leading here, to this place.’
Greta’s partner Joel grew up with five brothers and a sister in a feisty household on an isolated NT property. But he doesn’t talk about those days – not the deaths of his sister and mother, nor the origin of the scars that snake around his body.
Now, many years later, he returns with Greta and their three young boys to prepare the place for sale. The boys are quick to settle in, and Joel seems preoccupied with work, but Greta has a growing sense of unease, struggling in the build-up’s oppressive heat and living in the shadow of the old, burned-out family home. She knows she’s a stranger in this uncanny place, with its eerie and alluring landscape, hostile neighbour, and a toxic dam whose clear waters belie its poison. And then there’s the mysterious girl living rough whom Greta tries to befriend.
Determined to make sense of it all, Greta is drawn into Joel’s unspoken past and confronted by her own. Before long the curlew’s haunting cry will call her to face the secrets she and Joel can no longer outrun.
‘The narrative builds like the oppressive tropical wet season. I could feel the heat, smell the dirt and rain and storms, sense the aura of the remote station: the restless dread and unease.’ Karen Viggers, author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife
‘Powerful and evocative . . . Manton understands instinctively what haunts us, and why’ Cate Kennedy, author of The World Beneath