Tim Winton was born in Perth in 1960. He is the author of fifteen books, including novels, a collection of stories, non-fiction and books for children. He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize twice, for The Riders (1995) and Dirt Music (2002).
At twelve years old, Morton - Ort for short - is not quite a child, but not yet an adult; his isolated outback world is an intriguing combination of boyish innocence, adolescent confusion and burgeoning awareness. When his father is seriously injured in a car crash, however, that world is suddenly thrown into complete disarray and the whole family have to adjust. As Ort, his sister, mother and grandmother are struggling to come to terms with what has happened, a stranger appears in their midst. Preaching God's word, Henry Warburton's unexpected arrival seems eerily prescient, at a time when the family most need a helping hand, and Henry quickly makes himself indispensable. In fact, for Ort in particular, it is Henry's presence, perhaps more even than his father's accident, that brings the greatest change to his world. `Towards the end of the novel Ort prays for a miracle: "Funny when you talk to God. He's like the sky . . . Never says anything. But you know he listens." Though God hasn't answered Ort yet, Mr. Winton convinces us he might' New York Times `The great strength of the novel is in the way the grotesque contrasts and parallels in human life are spread out, examined and accepted' Los Angeles Times