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He pulled into tiny sheltered coves and swam with his mother in turquoise water beneath streaky cliffs and trees loud with birds. He stayed just behind the breakers and was showered with their spray and saw the great, strange land through the wobbly glass of the waves. Winton called this novel a contemporary fable, and there is certainly a clear and obvious moral with a positive answer to the question of how can we live in the modern world with our morality and respect for the environment intact.This is a lovely, and easy to read novel which will appeal to children of all ages, as well as adults.Their home has no electricity and the only fresh water is rainwater; isolated from the city, they make their living off the land and by fishing for Abalone.
The novel invites the reader to see the environment as precious and something to be protected.
Through the use of characters, setting, conflict and resolution to give the message to the reader that we should protect the environment and not take the ocean for granted.
Able understands that they must fish for food, but he dislikes people who treat it as a sport or who disrespect the fish or the land.
They take the fishing boat out and Able dives into the water, where he meets a large old grouper he names Blueback.
Although the novel is an extended allegory, Winton takes care to keep the story from being a piece of agitprop, infusing it with enough poetry and emotional stakes to make it enjoyable as a story.
The story opens in Longboat Beach, where Able Jackson and his mother, Dora, live by the ocean.
Winton does it easily though, and Blueback is also a tender and lovely story which adults will enjoy reading quickly.
The subtle linking between the old and clever Blueback and Abel’s lost/dead father adds a layer of depth to the story, as does Abel’s own search for meaning in his life as he grows up without his father or other father figures, and as his perception of his mother and the world in which he grew up changes.
Their lives are not easy, but they have enough, and Able spends his days exploring the ocean, which he finds exhilarating and intimidating.
Dora tells Able that Jacksons have lived there for a very long time, and the two clearly have an idyllic existence.