From the Miles Franklin-shortlisted author of Leap comes an unforgettable new novel about fathers and sons, and the damage that can ripple through generations.
‘Frank feared a reckoning, but what he feared more was that all the men in his family were cursed. And that however hard he tried to be good, he would not be able to escape his shadow.’
Frank Herbert’s family has gathered beside Tinaroo Dam for his daughter’s wedding – the first time they’ve been together since the death of his father, Joe, a year earlier. It should be a time of celebration, but things are shaky for Frank, in his marriage and his new business. Joe never did think Frank could do or make anything worthwhile.
Like Frank, the dam itself has seen better days. Built in the 1950s for the tobacco industry, it is lower now than ever before. As the water recedes, objects begin to emerge from below the surface – abstract and disquieting. It seems the past is always lurking. Frank’s grandfather, Victor Herbert, was the butcher of Tinaroo during the dam’s construction, but Joe never spoke of him. Joe was not a talker, but he could roar. What ancient wrongs was his fury concealing?
In the midst of wedding preparations, but unable to utter the words he needs to save his own marriage, Frank is drawn onto the water. Beneath the fig trees, where bloated black bream circle, he hears the echo of his father’s voice, forcing him to look down – and back.
Moving between the weekend of the wedding and the year in the mid-1950s that cursed the Herbert men for three generations, Cool Water asks what it means to be a good man, and what we risk when we allow the patterns of the past to hold us in their grip. The question is: can Frank eclipse his family’s shadow, to find a way into a future of his own making?
A breathtaking story brimming with insight and emotional power by Miles Franklin-shortlisted author Myfanwy Jones, this is an unforgettable novel about fathers and sons, and the damage that can ripple through generations.
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- Fiction: Literary