Something strange has happened to the public swimming pool in New Lourdes, Victoria. The water is no longer level and is rumoured to have curative powers.
When 16-year-old Wolfgang MulQueen takes a summer job at the pool, he meets Audrey, a blind girl who claims she's nocturnal. With the discovery of a butterfly unknown to science, and an unusual request from Audrey's father, Wolfgang finds himself inextricably drawn into an 18-year-old mystery, the tragic resolution of which will change his life forever.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781876462512
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Book Review: Pool by Justin D'Ath - Reviewed by ~H (14 May 2010)
Rarely these days do I come across a story that draws me in so completely that I can’t put it down. Pool is one such story. It had me at the blurb: ‘Something strange has happened at the local swimming pool in New Lourdes Victoria. The water is no longer level and is rumoured to have curative powers.’ How could anyone resist that?
Sixteen year old Wolfgang is working at New Lourdes’ pool over the summer holidays. As an avid butterfly collector he’s beside himself with joy when he discovers the wing of an unknown butterfly. Trying to capture a complete insect proves more difficult. And if that weren’t enough to keep him occupied, he’s been offered a lot of money by businessman Keith Babacan to befriend his blind daughter, Audrey.
Audrey, Wolfgang soon discovers, is a tad unusual. She spends her nights in the cemetery and insists she doesn’t belong in this world. Wolfgang finds himself falling for this strange girl and soon discovers her very existence is bound up with the mystery of New Lourdes’ swimming pool in a way he could never have imagined.
D’Ath has created a tale that oozes mystery from every page. Every one of his characters is wonderfully complex and alive. This is storytelling at its best. A highly recommended read for kids 12-adult.
Book Review: Pool by Justin D'Ath - Reviewed by SwiftC (10 Dec 2009)
Sixteen-year-old Wolfgang Mulqueen has a summer-holidays job at his local public swimming pool. The pool is famous because the water is not level and it supposedly has curative powers. A regular at the pool is a blind girl named Audrey, who claims to be nocturnal and chases angels. Add to this, a mysterious black butterfly that is possibly a new species.
What is the relationship between all these elements? How are they connected and why? This is what Pool is about.
What results is a fascinating, gentle, character-driven story that enthrals from beginning to end. D’Ath expertly takes you down a mysterious, winding path. You can never see where that path is leading, yet each time you turn a corner you find yourself saying “Well, yes, of course”. Until at last you reach the unexpected, yet inevitable, conclusion.
I found myself really feeling for the characters. I wanted Audrey to find happiness. I wanted Wolfgang to prove the existence of the new species of butterfly. I wanted them to fall in love. I found myself cringing at Wolfgang’s lies, yet understanding why he told them. I found myself hoping that he wouldn’t accept the morally dubious offer made by Audrey’s father. I found myself hoping lots of things. Did the characters do everything I wanted them to? No! Did their decisions sometimes disappoint me? Yes. All of which made them more real… all of which made me care more for them.
This book is hard to define or categorise. All I’ll say is that it’s a young adult novel that is both thoughtful and thought provoking. I’m not sure what I was expecting from it – certainly not what I got. Which is a good thing. I like it when a book takes me to unexpected ground, surprises me, then leaves me wanting more.
(Review by George Ivanoff, posted with permission)
Justin D'Ath was one of 12 children. He was born in New Zealand, but has lived in Australia since 1971. He has written one adult novel, The Initiate (Collins 1989) which won three awards, and 21 books for children and YA. Justin's short stories have won 54 literary awards, and have been published in 16 countries and translated into six languages. His novels have been published in Australia, Italy, Germany and Denmark. Books by Justin D'Ath include: Shaedow Master, Hunters and Warriors, The Skyflower, Crocodile Attack, and Why did the Chykkan cross the Galaxy?.
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