Hard times in a western Australia fishing town. The locals fear and worship Jim Buckridge, whose large hauls keep the one-note economy afloat. His wife, Georgie, an insomniac sick on vodka, scratches at the confines of the tight community. She falls for its greatest enemy, Lu Fox, a fish poacher with a broken heart. The trio, stuck in a menacing circle of their personal griefs and guilts, is in need of serious atonement and searches for it in the wild landscape. The characters all fear the emptiness of death. Each is like ”a rugged man with flayed shanks whose sudden tiny cry in the night is no louder than the gasp of an opened oyster.” Winton, whose 1995 novel The Riders was nominated for the Booker Prize, has written an intense read, raw and beautiful, studded with shards of rage.