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J

ohn Watt’s Crooked Vows is not only a compulsive read, it is also an evocative, almost poetic survival story conjuring up the beauty, power and destructiveness of the West Australian bush, coast and the ocean. It is also a story of self-discovery. It vividly captures the struggles of a young man in the 1950s trying to come to terms with meaning, belief and sexuality within an abusive and claustrophobic Catholicism. The cleverly constructed plot contrasts survival in the wilderness after a plane crash and the recovery of suppressed memories, with the turgid boredom of 1950s’ suburbia. The writing is limpid and engaging and tells the story with grace and elegance. It is a book that lingers in your memory.

– Dr Paul Colins, Broadcaster, writer, historian

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