Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress.
Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu.
And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Revisit Jasper Jones, Craig Silvey’s lauded bildungsroman, which has recently been adapted for both the stage and screen. Set in the 1960s, it centres around Charlie, an erudite teenager in the Western Australian mining town of Corrigan, where racism and a small-town mentality breed hatred and distrust. One night, alongside an Indigenous boy named Jasper Jones, he becomes enmeshed in the murder of a local girl. Jasper Jones is not only a captivating mystery, but also an astute reckoning with the prejudice and violence that still plague Australia today. It teems with a kind of brilliantly cerebral language not often found in contemporary YA fiction, and Humphrey Bower’s tough, ocker narration helps set an appropriately sinister mood for this dark adolescent tale.
Poetically written with humour and heartache. I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderfully narrated audio book and look forward to hearing more from this author.