Claire Zorn, One Would Think the Deep, Uni of Qld Press, 1 June 2016, 320pp., $19.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780702253942
Sam’s already tumultuous world is ripped apart when his mother dies tragically from a brain haemorrhage in his arms. With no other close family, Sam goes to live with Aunty Lorraine, Minty and Shane, cousins he used to know well until the sudden, unexplained disintegration of family. Minty’s on his way to being a champion surfer and Sam falls into the surfing way, spending his time in the water or on his skateboard, trying to reconcile his mother’s death, the reappearance of his absent Nan, and the puzzling hostility of cousin Shane. Sam’s greatest fear is that his bouts of anger that lead to enraged fistfights will bring him the same trouble that he’d been dealing with back in Sydney. When the truth comes out about his father it opens new wounds, but also provides the catalyst for his remaining family to reconnect.
This is a heavy story of secrets and the damage they can cause. Sam’s pain is palpable, his issues enormous, and his future seemingly untenable. The ‘lovely kid’ that Nana saw on her return is just a cover for the traumatised boy he really is. His recovery, though, comes from immersion into a reconstructed family that has the power to love each other again.
Reviewed by Pam Harvey