Author(s): Carl Shuker
Described by its US publishers as 'risky and harrowing' and 'a punch in the stomach', this novel is the highly regarded recent winner of the 2006 Prize in Modern Letters from Victoria University of Wellington's Institute in Modern letters. The central character, Richard Sauer, is an 18-year-old boy who begins university for no better reason than to escape the boredom of life with his middle-class family in Timaru. His aimlessness finds a mirror in his friends as they mangle their way through their first year. Richey quickly careens beyond apathy into a wordless anger. He takes a brutal turn at an out-of-control student party, which lands him in front of the disciplinary committee on a sexual harassment charge. Richey's flatmates (Matt, who removes his face from photographs; Nick, who cannot choose between his band or the decadent slipstream of organised sport; and Ursula, whose passivity masks a hidden pain), then join Richey in a free-fall that forces them to face their most destructive desires. First published November 2006.