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Grief, loss and guilt are enormous burdens for a whole family to carry.

Book Setting: the coast
Twitcher, Cherise Saywell

Grief, loss and guilt are enormous burdens for a whole family to carry.

A tern will fly to the moon, to live its life in summer … I suppose I'd like to have a little bit of that.

It's boom time in sixteen-year-old Kenno's coastal holiday town. Tourists are buying and building and developing property, and easy money seems to be everywhere. Even birds flock there to nest on the sand and on the cliffs, out to the islands. But for those who live in the holiday town all year round, there is bleakness too, and Kenno's family, haunted by a terrible loss, struggle to get by.

When the family is evicted from their home, Kenno figures they're entitled to a little easy money of their own, and that it's his job to makes things right. Believing it could go a long way to healing them in all their separate ways.

Kenno finds a beautiful house and forms a plan to get the money for it. But the closer he gets to the money, the more complicated things become, and when he involves his sister in his plan, who likes to test the world and goes looking for danger, things move quickly beyond his control …

Available Formats

  • Trade Paperback
    $32.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9781864711165
    Published: 01/03/2013
    Imprint: Vintage Australia
    Extent: 304 pages
  • eBook
    ISBN: 9781742759067
    Published: 01/03/2013
    Imprint: RHA eBooks Adult
    Extent: 304 pages
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"Perhaps the most impressive thing about this book is the way it steadily evokes and elicits strong feeling.Twitcher explores the most specific and private of individual interior states. But the novel is also about society and money: in charting the decline of a family, Saywell explores some of the ways in which the vast divisions between rich and poor are established and maintained. The scene in which the landlord brings a couple and their children to inspect the family's home is quite harrowing, and the delusions behind Kenno's single-minded plan to make money are nothing short of heartbreaking." - Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Sydney Morning Herald

"With her second novel, Saywell has written skilfully of the painful attempts to navigate morality, sexuality and family secrets in adolescence. Twitcher is an exploration of the hard knowledge that comes with steps into adulthood, where parents once admired are revealed as fallible and flawed." - Bethanie Blanchard, The Australian

"Saywell's portrait of the boy is a delicately nuances, sometimes enigmatic one. This, too, is a hauntingly memorable novel, but the memories are bittersweet and not always comfortable." - Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

"Poignant" - Australian Coast to Coast Country Style

Cherise Saywell

Cherise Saywell

Cherise Saywell was born in Lismore NSW and grew up in Casino. She studied English and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland and then travelled to the UK for a holiday that accidently became more permanent. She worked as an academic researcher and then in television production before the birth of her first child when she began writing fiction.

Cherise won the VS Pritchett Prize for her short story 'Beef Queen' in 2003 and was awarded a Scottish Arts Council New Writer Bursary in the same year. She was a runner up in the Asham Award in 2009, collecting the third prize for her story, 'The Candle Garden.' Her short stories have appeared in The London Magazine, New Writing Scotland, Carve Magazine and alongside stories by Margaret Atwood and Yiyun Li, in the Asham Award collection, Waving at the Gardener (Bloomsbury, 2009).

Desert Fish, Cherise's first novel emerged out of a desire to try out a longer form, growing from a story idea that couldn't be confined to the parameters of a short story. It was also a way of reconnecting with some of places that resonated from childhood. Cherise was awarded an Arts Council Bursary in 2007 to complete Desert Fish, and has just completed her second novel, Twitcher.