Hare’s Fur

Scribe. Jul. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781950354122. pap. $16. F
Russell Bass, a potter and recent widower, lives an almost solitary life in Australia’s Blue Mountains. He periodically has to trek some distance on an unused trail to find minerals for one of his glazes (“hare’s fur” is a specific oil spot glaze). On one such walk he’s surprised to notice a candy wrapper on the path. Sounds of soft laughter set him exploring, and he discovers a teenage girl and two small children living in a cave, hiding from social services and the police. At first they try to hide from him, too, but slowly and reluctantly they come to develop more trust in Russell. In a short time, they have moved in with him, still fearing the authorities. Multi-award-winning Australian author Shearston (Game) presents what is essentially a novel of character; the evolving feelings of Russell and the teenage Jade are portrayed deftly as they become “family.” Readers unfamiliar with the argot of the potter’s studio may understandably be put off by the density of this terminology in the early pages, but after that, the book glides.
VERDICT As beautifully shaped as Russell’s pottery, this is for any reader seeking character and relationship development under trying (to put it mildly) circumstances.

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