SETH by Merlene Fawdry

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492191507
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492191506

Seth Donaldson’s life mirrors his beginnings. Plunged headlong into existence in a dusty paddock in the middle of the hay season, his selective mutism makes him a target for abuse and bullying. Abandoned by his mother, his childhood is one of isolation, until he is befriended by the local newsagent, owner of one of the few shops remaining open in a rural town of diminishing population. His step-father’s death brings a change of fortune and marks the beginning of a chain of tragic events that enshrouds the town in grief and suspicion. The increased ostracism that results makes Seth easy prey for a predatory socio-path seeking revenge for imagined slights and his own social inadequacies. When another of his tormentor’s victims is dumped in his cellar, presumed dead, Seth nurses her back to health and together they plot their longer term survival. A fierce electrical storm forms the backdrop for a collision between those intent on vengeance and those seeking to avoid further tragedy. In recovery, Seth finds a place for himself beyond the confines of the choices of others and, with this new confidence, creates a unique community to save the town from extinction.


5.0 out of 5 stars
Powerful and captivatingSeptember 16, 2013


The very first scene of Seth drew me in like a haunting whisper, and from there I remained captivated for the next 290 pages. What a powerful and intriguing story this is - of a boy trapped by his inability to speak and the prejudices of his home town folk, culminating in a series of events one stormy night that end in both tragedy and freedom.
Merlene's ability to bring to life the complex characters and relationships that make up the small Aussie township of Yalkaro, is masterful, and as I read I couldn't help but be reminded of Tim Winton's glorious characterisations in Cloudstreet.
This is such a clever and vivid story and Merlene tackles the subjects of neglect, sexual abuse and death with such nuance. It was a novel I simply could not put down and I can not wait to read more fiction from Merlene Fawdry.

5.0 out of 5 stars SETH - UnstoppableNovember 11, 2013

A spellbinding account of small town life. Merlene uses her extensive skills as storyteller and poet to weave a vivid and haunting tale of fear, prejudice and ignorance. While the narrative felt slow at first, it gathers the momentum of a freight train. Absolutely unstoppable. A real page turner. Such a delight to see stereotypical characters given the hiding they deserve. Bold, fresh and wholly compassionate. An intelligent and empathetic immersion into another's skin. I shall be looking out for more written by this author.

5.0 out of 5 stars Seth a book I couldn't putdownOctober 11, 2013
Terence L. Probert (Melbourne, Australia) 

This novel captivated me in the very first sentence. I didn't do anything for a day as I lived with Seth and the people in his life. I watched as he managed in his own way to deal with things beyond his control. Merlene's magic way with prose put me into the story as an observer, more than just the reader and now I know the town and its people intimately. I've been there, I have walked inside Seth's home and tripped on the tattered linoleum, I have laughed, cried, and been angry at each of the characters as their antics surprised me.
Merlene has been fearless in tackling small town taboos creating a novel that is both hard to put down and illuminating.

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For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene