Review: The Others by Mark Brandi

 

Title: The Others

Author: Mark Brandi

Published: 30th June 2021, Hachette

Status: Read June 2021 courtesy Hachette

++++++

 

My Thoughts:

 

The Others is a haunting coming-of-age novel from award-winning Australian author Mark Brandi.

On his eleventh birthday Jacob’s father gifts him a diary, encouraging his son to write about their life on an isolated farm in rural Tasmania. The boy writes of the sheep they tend, the goats they hunt and eat, the drought that destroys their crops, the foxes that lurk in the hills. Of his dead mother, whom he misses but can’t remember, of the whites of his father’s eyes, of the questions he has about ‘the town’, the plague, and the Others.

Jacob’s voice is captivating, Brandi pitches it perfectly to project the curiosity and innocence of a young boy whose understanding and experience of the world is limited to what his father tells him, supplemented by a dictionary, an incomplete encyclopaedia, and a faded Women’s Weekly magazine.

Jacob is reluctant to ask his father too many questions, wary of his father’s temper or alternatively afraid that the ‘soft eyes’ will return, which means his dad may not talk or move for days. There are subtle clues for the reader that what Jacob’s father tells him about life outside the farm may not be true, small details that the boy doesn’t recognise as incongruous. Tension builds as Jacob’s curiosity grows, and he secretively begins defying his father’s edict to remain within the confines of the farm. Brandi conjures dread and anxiety as a confrontation, either between Jacob and his father or Jacob and the ‘others’, seems inevitable.

The writing is spare, yet evocative, I was clearly able to visualise the farm and it’s immediate surrounds. Some of the graphic scenes in the novel have more impact because the description is so stark. Unexpectedly, the story is also enhanced by small sketches, drawn by Jacob in his diary.

Powerful and unsettling, The Others is a gripping novel with an ending that left my heart pounding.

++++++

Available from Hachette Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia I Amazon

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mystica
    Jul 04, 2021 @ 16:27:59

    A new author and book for me. I hardly get a chance to get my hands on an Australian setting or author. I would like to track this one down.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. fleurmorrison
    Jul 04, 2021 @ 19:34:19

    Sounds like another fantastic read by Mark Brandi – can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Linda Moore
    Jul 05, 2021 @ 01:59:54

    Sounds great. It’s a new author for me and I’ll check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Jennifer
    Jul 05, 2021 @ 12:39:26

    Great review, Shelleyrae! I have a reserve on this at the library 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  6. Helen Murdoch
    Jul 05, 2021 @ 15:06:45

    Instead of a locked room, a locked farm. Super intriguing!

    Like

    Reply

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