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Andrew Paterson

  • awardWinner, Text Prize, 2020
  • ‘You don’t kill them rainfish ’cause they’ll bring trouble. Rainstorms and floods and bad things.’

    Aaron lives with his mum and older brother in a small town on the edge of a rainforest in tropical Far North Queensland. He’s sick of being the little brother, left out of all the interesting stuff the older kids get up to.

    So when he meets Damon he’s keen to impress him. It’s all going well, until Damon suggests they break into the church. Aaron’s nervous and uncomfortable. But he can’t back out now—he’s only just beginning to be accepted.

    When the theft is reported in the local newspaper and the police knock on the door, Aaron finds himself hiding the truth in a tangle of lies. And before long his deep sense of guilt and fear of being found out overwhelm him.

    And then, when he discovers that the mudcod in the old bath in the backyard—the fish he’d caught in the river in the rainforest—are the rainfish of local legend, he becomes convinced that he is responsible for the terrible rainstorms and floods that devastate the town.

    Rainfish is a delightful middle-grade novel exploring childhood innocence—a warm and humorous portrayal of a young boy trying to undo an impulsive mistake.


    Paperbark Words   

    Andrew Paterson
    About the Author

    Andrew Paterson is a medical doctor. He was brought up and currently lives and works in Far North Queensland, where Rainfish is set. He has a graduate diploma in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne.

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    Text publication date:
    2 July 2021
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    Praise for Andrew Paterson

    ‘I was swept away by this stunning, swampy tale of the loneliness that comes with a guilty conscience. An absolutely unforgettable book.’

    ‘A wonderful, gutsy story about boyhood, teeming with tenderness and heart.’

    Rainfish is one of those books you don’t want to end but at the same time do, only to be sure the story concludes the way you hoped it would.’

    ‘I could really relate to Aaron’s feelings of guilt in this story. The writing really made you feel like you were there.’

    ‘I could relate to the moment when Aaron’s brother got sick. I have felt that kind of worry before.’

    ‘I love the description and flow of the story. Full of adventure and guilt – a totally relatable tale.’

    ‘I love how Aaron feels guilty – it puts a bit of realism into the story.’

    ‘I really enjoyed the descriptions of how Aaron was feeling. I also really liked all of the characters.’

    ‘I liked the colour and the cover art. I also liked the creativity of the book and the way it used newspaper articles to help tell the story.’

    Rainfish is one of the most impactful middle-grade novels I’ve read. It authentically demonstrates the realities of conformity and trying to fit in as you’re discovering who you are…a delightful middle-grade novel exploring childhood innocence, and a warm and humorous portrayal of a young boy trying to undo an impulsive mistake. I was drawn to the way Paterson portrays the complex in a beautifully simplistic way, making it impactful yet digestible for readers aged 10+. I couldn’t recommend it more.’

    ‘Rain-sodden…lively…wonderfully backgrounded with water…unprecedented…vivid…sweaty…macho…fantastical…dangerous.’

    ‘Andrew Paterson writes with a light touch. There is plenty of humour in Aaron’s observations, real, exaggerated or imagined…A satisfying read.’

    ‘Tender and funny… [Aaron’s] dilemmas have a universal quality.’

    ‘Paterson’s novel explores the trials and tribulations of growing up, friendship and coping with adversity in an authentic and engaging way.’

    Other editions ofRainfish