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Christian College Geelong Senior Library: Lovers of literature

Tigerfish by David Metzenthen

From best-selling and award-winning author David Metzenthen comes a powerful new novel.

Better in here, they think. Safe and sound. No shocks and no surprises. Twenty-one degrees Celsius all year round.

But outside Sky Point Mall, no one is safe.

Ryan Lanyon lives in a tough suburb.  His brother’s a bouncer.  His best mate owns weapons.  Ariel works in a surf shop and has never seen the sea.  And the year that lies ahead is a minefield for them all.

A novel of confrontation, loyalty and love from David Metzenthen, the award-winning and bestselling author of Jarvis 24Boys of Blood and Bone and Black Water.

I fell in love with Metzenthen’s writing in Jarvis 24 but Tigerfish has tipped him into an auto-buy author for me. His spare and direct prose lifts this story and makes it something special. I find myself incredibly intrigued by his perspective and what matters as story for him – those that other writers might pass over, Metzenthen pulls them out and makes them count.

Set in the fictional suburb of Templeton, Tigerfish is a look into a world most people avoid driving through. Sky Point Mall is nicknamed Knife Point Mall and you don’t walk through the paddocks after dark. You need to know there’s been reports of a prowler sneaking around people’s yards, and some kid found rope near his fence, but you also need to keep living your life.

Each character in Tigerfish is fully realised. They all come with their own story but it’s Ryan’s Metzenthen chooses to tell. Ryan’s empathetic nature is a stark contrast to his surroundings. In a place where most people would just put their heads down and try to survive, Ryan looks up. He sees the girl that doesn’t quite fit, the girl living in the most rundown house in the rundown suburb. And he makes a point to be there for her. His caring also extends to his best friend, his brother and the little sister of the guy who wants to punch him.

I found Ariel’s story to be the most emotionally impacting. Recovering from the sudden loss of her father and the life she once had – just hanging on enough to look like she’s got it all together. That kind of loss digs right in my heart. Her relationship with Ryan is careful and perhaps my main criticism is that I wanted just a little bit more. Still, I was so thankful she had him.

Tigerfish is tightly written but not in a hurry to get anywhere. The pace might turn some readers off but I found it worked. There’s a sense of danger lurking in the background which builds slowly through the novel and makes the most simple scenes seem charged. I just wanted everyone to be okay.

Recommend if you’re after something tense but with a lot of heart.

Review by Trinity Good Reads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19542272-tigerfish

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March 17, 2014 Posted by | Boys' read, Family/Relationships | Leave a comment