Wimmera – When The Stranger Came Everything Changed
Wimmera. In the summer of 1989, in a small Australian country town, Ben and Fab are like any other young boys on the cusp of adolescence. They are best friends and spend most of their time outside in the sunshine, hanging at each other’s houses, playing cricket and catching yabbies.
Ben keeps an eye out for Fab, who has a tendency to get himself in bother with the other kids, and Fab is always on hand to hang out with Ben. Neither of them talks about what worries them. They don’t talk about the fact that Fab’s dad beats him and his mother sometimes, and they don’t talk about the girl next door to Ben who suddenly died. The gossips in town go into overdrive about what happened at the house next door, but that fades away when the family moves away and a newcomer arrives. The boys find him strange and Fab thinks he might be a secret agent. Neither of them knows the shadow he will cast over their lives.
Twenty years later and Fab is still stuck in the small town, going nowhere fast. He really just needs a break to split this small, suffocating town. But when a body is discovered down by the river, Fab realises that he needs to confront his past to have any chance of escape.
What Did I Think Of Wimmera?
As a debut piece of fiction Mark Brandi is showing some serious writing chops with Wimmera. The boys, Ben and Fab are written so beautifully. As you read, you can feel the sun scorching your back, smell the grass on the lawn and the stench of something bad, lingering, and life-changing for the residents of this small country town. Having travelled through and stayed in similar towns over the years, I found the setting and characters on point and the measured pace reflected that of life in these distant towns driven by routine, limited opportunities and the local pub. I became attached to Ben and Fab almost immediately and was very sorry to say goodbye at the end of the book. I look forward to reading whatever Brandi writes next but be prepared for a book hangover with this one.
A poignant tale about the struggles and unwavering friendships young lads face growing up in a small town. If you enjoyed the movie Jindabyne, you’ll enjoy Wimmera.
You don’t need to be bad, to have bad things befall you.
4 out of 5 – Brilliant Australian fiction
Get it now from Booktopia.