Swimming on Dry Land by Helen Blackhurst

Browser review

Swimming on Dry Land
Swimming on Dry Land
Author: Helen Blackhurst
ISBN-13: 9781781722916
Publisher: Seren
Guideline Price: £9.99

Michael and Caroline Harvey relocate from England with daughters Monica and Georgie to a remote Australian mining town, running away from a life that is broken, as much as towards one that could heal them.

The town’s founder, Michael’s brother Eddie, has ambitions for a real community where people thrive and raise families, but the reality is that this can only be a half-town at best. Then little Georgie Harvey goes missing while playing hide-and-seek with her sister. This is the third such unexplained disappearance in the town and the ferociously practical townspeople search for a child they know they can never find, braving oppressive heat, among the hills and dips of a landscape pock-marked by tunnels, ravaged by brutal opal mining.

Meanwhile, the fate of the town is sealed as the banks foreclose on their houses despite Eddie’s desperate attempts to buy more time. Switching between characters from one chapter to another, Blackhurst deftly navigates the pent-up resentment and damaging disappointment that can lurk in the background of a relationship and sets this tragedy within a breathtaking claustrophobia that is hard to shake off.