Scribe Publications: 7/7/20
review copy; 288 pages
Hare's Fur by Trevor Shearston is a very highly recommended, beautifully presented novel and character study.
Russell Bass is a potter and recent widower living on the edge of the Blue Mountains of New South Wales in Australia. He lives a mostly solitary life with a few close friends. When he is hiking to a specific vein of basalt that he uses in one of his glazes to get the hare's fur effect, he sees a new candy wrapper in the forest. Then he hears the voices of children. He ends up discovering and later bringing food to a teen age girl and her two younger siblings. They are living in a nearby cave, hiding from the police and child services. Russell offers them the food and his phone number, should they need more help. Circumstances send the three to his house, living with him, while still hiding from authorities.
Hare's Fur is a wonderful, quiet, tender, and thoughtful novel, both for the writing and the character development. The descriptions are incredible. If you have ever done any pottery you will immediately be taken back to your experiences and understand intimately the descriptions lovingly provided in the narrative. The setting is handled with the same amount of care and attention. Equally compelling are the descriptions of the people and the connections that are slowly built between them. This is a finely crafted novel with prose that serenades the reader while depicting the time, setting, and characters in a quiet, contemplative manner.
With compassion and introspection, Hare's Fur becomes a novel about working through grief and loneliness. It is about having your life's work also be your passion. It is about aging and acceptance. It is about setting mistakes aside, whether in life or pottery. And it is about trusting other people and the fragility of forging a family and pottery. Quite simply, Hare's Fur is a lovely novel. It was the perfect quiet, contemplative novel to read during a very stressful time.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribe Publications.