Title: Raw Blue
Author: Kirsty Eagar
Published: Penguin Books Australia June 2009
Synopsis: Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago. Then she meets Ryan and Carly has to decide … Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?
Status: Read on May 10, 2011
Raw Blue is a superb debut novel from Kirsty Eagar. This is a powerful and sensitively written novel that explores the emotional pain of nineteen year old Carly and her journey towards recovery after a traumatic assault.
Set in the beachside suburbs of Sydney, Carly works as a cook in a cafe by night, leaving her days free for surfing. Surfing is both her passion and her escape and Eagar describes Carly’s affinity for the sport, and the ocean, with extraordinarily vivid imagery. She also captures the culture of this insular community, from the rules and courtesies that dictate behaviour to the characters that float on the swell at all times of the day. Having spent some time on the waves she describes as a teenager (though I watched more than surfed), the sense of recognition is surprisingly powerful.
In this character driven novel, Eagar has created a protagonist who is easy to identify with. The reader is immersed in Carly’s thoughts and experiences through the first person, present tense narration. Carly’s self imposed alienation from those around her allows her to hide her fragile emotional state. Long before the details are revealed, it is obvious that a traumatic event has crushed her spirit, leaving her vulnerable and closed off. Eagar sensitively explores Carly’s pain without exploiting it and as Carly begins to move forward, the author never forces the recovery. It is this visceral realism that engages the reader.
Carly is supported by some unique characters, Hannah – her Dutch neighbour, Danny – a fellow surfer who sees people in colours and then of course there is Ryan. The development of the relationship between Carly and Ryan is particularly well handled. Hardly a traditional ‘YA hero’, Ryan is a unique character that you can’t but help fall a little in love with yourself.
Raw Blue is a compelling novel, insightful and poignant. It is wonderful to have a book that is so naturally, authentically Australian, and so gloriously, beautifully written. A stunning debut Raw Blue is a must read.
Available to Purchase
NB: It’s really difficult to find this book in stores!