Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Hut Builder by Laurence Fearnley, Penguin Books

The Hut Builder by Laurence Fearnley, Penguin Books $40

As a boy Boden soon discovers that his “adopted” family’s home across the road is a happier place to be than his own home where the rarely mentioned memories of his two brothers lost during the war linger in a disabling grief.   So for a few years he lives mostly with Dudley and his family.

 As a 20 year old young man in a hut building party on Mt Cook he discovers that he doesn’t always understand what motivates other people to do what they do or have been forced by their convictions to not do.   The world is becoming more than his life to date had suggested.

Boden, the man, struggles at times to juggle his workaday life as a butcher in his father’s shop with his writing of poetry.    Yet he is successful at both.

Laurence Fearnley’s novel leads you on a journey with Boden looking at these other people’s lives that should be ordinary, if not perfect.  Like your own they are not.  Boden’s whole life seems to be a journey of growing realisation that he is not the only person with burdens.

Fearnley uses coincidence or a repeated actions to make connections that hold this novel together.  This is a beautifully constructed story with connections and allusions that delight.  The setting in South Canterbury allows the characters lots of space to move.   You will enjoy reading this coming of age tale.

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