Like the view from a cracked wing mirror, each chapter reveals another sharp reflection of the characters who inhabit the Ails Valley. Revealed in fragments, their lives overlap and intertwine through decades. Humour and tragedy coexist for these unpretentious people, as their lives intersect, collide, fall apart and move on.
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‘It’s all done with artistry, and with assurance, as though Peter were on his tenth book of fiction instead of his first. He knows exactly what to do, how much to say, how to simply suggest. Like the West Australian, Tim Winton, and in particular his book The Turning, in Gravel Roads Peter Butler gives the same feeling – of community and danger and rawness and many other things – cruelty, greed, hunger, love, betrayal – the ingredients of fiction. Peter Butler can live in the company of Tim Winton. Maurice Gee