4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
a parable of our times. a book for re-reading,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hunter (Paperback)
The Hunter is a brilliant short first novel by a young Australian writer,Julia Leigh, from Sydney. It has received rave reviews in the Guardian, Observer and Times Literary Supplement. What distinguishes it from much modern fiction is its combination or easy readability on the surface with a knack of revealing layers of subtext and meaning on rereading. Ostensibly about a mysterious "corporate" hired mercenary hunter seaching ruthlessly for the last Tasmanian Tiger (a large wolf like animal thought to be extinct) and his inability to relate to ordinary human feelings, through the widow and children of another naturalist who had perished on the almost mystic plateau which forms the Tiger's habitat (and is used metaphorically to separate the human caring world from the inhuman hard world of man the predatory beast), the novel is at another level an indictment of the managerialism, secrecy and sheer awfulness of modern big business. The resolution in advocacy of concern for the environment is perhaps not explicit enough but the sparse style and clever use of minor characters is very telling. The scenes with local yokels and hippy park rangers convey much in a short space. The creation of two worlds via the ascents and descents of the plateau remind one of Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree books . The contrast of the warm domestic scenes with the spaced out grieving widow and the hunter's very tentative clumsy attempts at human relationships with the brutal details of trapping and killing animals and bush survival is extreme. Read at the superficial level, the Tasmanian wilderness is deftly created with taut poetic writing and rings true. One feels that much detailed research has gone into this. The biotechnology is perhaps skipped over rather lightly as is the murky mercenary past of the unnamed Hunter (M).
I was reminded of Melville, Conrad, Hemingway and Patrick White when reading this book. In my view it is likely to become a classic