The creature held a great bundle of something tied up in a rag. For a moment we stared, not recognising him, but who else could it have been, who else but wandering Tin. We saw his naked limbs, his discoloured hair, his hooking razor-sharp nails. He raised lashy eyes to us and we saw a face on its way to another world. Da murmured, 'Jesus'.
Through the long years of the Great Depression, Harper Flute watches with a child's clear eyes her family's struggle to survive in a hot and impoverished landscape. As life on the surface grows harsher, her brother Tin escapes ever deeper into a subterranean world of darkness and troubling secrets, until his memory becomes a myth barely whispered around the countryside.
In a starred review, PW wrote, "Set in the harsh mining outback of Australia during the Depression, this startling coming-of-age story combines the narrator's grindingly realistic account of a family mired in poverty with a more surreal tale of her younger brother, gifted with an uncanny ability to dig through the earth and create his own subterranean world." Ages 14-up.