Alice, Hartley, Mitsy and Jamie are kids growing up in Broome before the Second World War. Their lives, although very different, are bound by friendship. Hartley and Alice Penrose are the children of an uneducated pearling master and a cultivated, disgruntled mother. Mitsy Sennosuke is Japanese, the daughter of Zeke, a diver working for Hartley and Alice s father, and Sadako, who makes soy sauce in a tin shed factory. Jamie Kilian is the son of a local magistrate, recently moved north from the city. Together, they unconsciously cross the boundaries of class and race, as they swim, joke and watch films in the cinema in Sheba Lane.
But these happy, untroubled times end when lives are lost in a terrible cyclone, Alice falls for a wealthy cattleman pilot, a young woman is assaulted, and Hartley and Jamie compete for the love of Mitsy. The Second World War brings further strain into their lives. The four friends are no longer children but old enough to fight for their country. As Japanese bombs begin to fall like silver rain on northern Australia, loyalties are divided and friendships take on an altogether different form… This thrilling and beautifully written new novel from Garry Disher evokes an era of Australia caught up in the events of war and its effects on people torn apart from all they know and hold dear in childhood.
- Shortlisted, 1999 CBCA Book of the Year
- Winner, 1999 NSW Premier’s Literary Award