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They returned to the main part of the shed and it was Lew’s turn to sharpen his cutters. The woolshed now bright and well lit. Painter walked to his stand and connected the handpiece to the down-rod. He drizzled oil over the comb and the cutter, adjusted the tension and pulled the rope to engage the running gear. The handpiece buzzed and he studied it for a moment, pulled the rope again to disengage the running gear. Repeated the process with his spare handpiece. Filled the oil can and stepped to the catching-pen door, leaned on it and looked at the sheep in the pen. Lit a cigarette, waiting for Lew.
Western Australia, the wheatbelt. Lew McLeod has been travelling and working with Painter Hayes since he was a boy. Shearing, charcoal burning—whatever comes. Painter made him his first pair of shoes. It’s a hard and uncertain life but it’s the only one he knows.
But Lew’s a grown man now. And with this latest job, shearing for John Drysdale and his daughter Clara, everything will change.
Stephen Daisley writes in lucid, rippling prose of how things work, and why; of the profound satisfaction in hard work done with care, of love and friendship and the damage that both contain.
‘One of the finest debut novels I have read. Indeed it’s one of the best novels I have read in recent years.’
‘The minutiae of the woolshed and animal behaviour are brought to life with skill and affection.’
‘[Daisley’s] evocative prose nails the rural zeitgeist and the mystery of mateship.’
‘This is a novel to make you think, and wonder about a world that few of us will ever know.’
‘This is a challenging and brave book…[Daisley] writes with a maturity and insight wrought of experience. His writing is at once cruel and gentle, graphically violent, including to animals, yet tender and beautiful.’
‘Coming Rain shimmers with dusty red heat…Tune in to the distinctive rhythm of the prose and you’ll enjoy the rich, subtle rewards of a really good book.’
‘In Coming Rain this late beginner continues to make his distinguished, solitary way, not least in reclaiming the rural societies of a half century ago, rendered so vividly that they seem keenly of the present, rather than past curiosities.’
‘There are moments of aching tenderness and heroism that will enrapture readers to the very end. Highly recommended.’
‘Some of [Daisley’s] most vivid writing. Here the minutiae of farm life are rendered with respect and sympathy…Moving and brilliant.’
‘Powerful masculine prose, brutal truths and unflinching truthfulness make this a novel that is as unsettling as it is evocative.’
‘Stephen Daisley has absorbed the Western Australian landscape and describes it evocatively…[His] writing style reminds me of Henry Lawson’s. Its short, sharp sentences and chapters, raw language and dialogue define the characters and the Outback in a grimly realistic but deeply humane way.’
‘Stephen Daisley writes with the potent economy of a short-story writer, and he triumphs with this visceral account that will linger in your mind long after the last page.’
‘[Coming Rain] has lingered in my mind all year, not least because one of the main characters is a dingo.’
‘I consider it a masterpiece…Coming Rain deserves its accolades.’
‘The book that I keep pressing into friends’ hands is Coming Rain by Stephen Daisley in which alternate chapters are narrated by a pregnant female dingo. Nothing short of genius.’
‘This is an astonishingly good read…The writing is spare, the landscape and relationships haunting—a beautiful and unforgettable read.’