Shooting Stars by Brian Falkner.
Shooting Stars by Brian Falkner. Pub. Scholastic, 2016.
“You who are on the road must have a code that you can live by” these lyrics from a 1970 Crosby Stills and Nash song ran through my mind as I was reading this superb novel.
Egan and his Moma have lived in the remote forests and bush of the Coromandal Peninsula for 15 years since Moma fled from an abusive husband with Egan as a baby. She taught him well, bringing him up on a code that is not unique- based on the Golden Rule, and written by every philosopher from Socrates to Fred Dagg. Egan is well read and wants to be a writer, Hemmingway and Steinbeck are favourites. Some of his stories are spread throughout the novel. The Code works well in the bush where there are no other humans, until Egan meets D.O.C. deer culler J.T. Hunter.
Egan and his dog Jack like J.T. and they learn much from each other, then Moma goes missing. Egan looks for clues in his mother’s papers and this takes him to Auckland. This is part 2 of the novel with Egan describing Auckland as a bonfire that needs constant feeding. He learns to live with the street kids and finds violence and love. He could survive anything but The Code by which he has lived is sorely tested.
Part 3 tells the father’s story and Egan learns what celebrity status means. The Code is further tested and broken. I would ruin it for you if I told you anything else.
Falkner narrates the story in diary form through Egan from December to March and it is totally compelling. The wit, the humour, the characterisation and the flow of the novel are strong traits of all Falkner’s novels, this is no exception. I was mesmerised from start to finish and you will be too. It is a triumph for motherhood.
Mention must be made of the cover, it is outstanding, any reader can see what the novel is going to do from the cover. The best I have seen for a long time.
Would be a great text for students from year 9 – 11 and great reading for everyone else. My book of the year so far.
NB this novel will be released for standing orders in October 2016 with general release November.