Rush Oh!: Book summary and reviews of Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett

Rush Oh!

by Shirley Barrett

Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett X
Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2016
    368 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

An impassioned, charming, and hilarious debut novel about a young woman's coming-of-age, during one of the harshest whaling seasons in the history of New South Wales.

1908: It's the year that proves to be life-changing for our teenage narrator, Mary Davidson, tasked with providing support to her father's boisterous whaling crews while caring for five brothers and sisters in the wake of their mother's death. But when the handsome John Beck-a former Methodist preacher turned novice whaler with a mysterious past-arrives at the Davidson's door pleading to join her father's crews, suddenly Mary's world is upended.

As her family struggles to survive the scarcity of whales and the vagaries of weather, and as she navigates sibling rivalries and an all-consuming first love for the newcomer John, nineteen-year-old Mary will soon discover a darker side to these men who hunt the seas, and the truth of her place among them.

Swinging from Mary's own hopes and disappointments to the challenges that have beset her family's whaling operation, Rush Oh! is an enchanting blend of fact and fiction that's as much the story of its gutsy narrator's coming-of-age as it is the celebration of an extraordinary episode in history.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Drolly tart and unsentimental.... Prickly yet endearing Mary is the star... Yes, there's a lot of whaling talk, but with a narrator reminiscent of Jo March, the sensibility here is more akin to Little Women than Moby-Dick." - Kirkus

"Highly episodic, the novel as memoir is told with a degree of nostalgia and yearning that are infectious, drawing readers into the action of this absorbing historical romance." - Booklist

"[A] rip-roaring account.... filled with evocative, briny descriptions, humorous set pieces, and newspaper extracts that come together nicely to create an intimate, wry story of one tumultuous year on the seas." - Publishers Weekly

"If the (underrated) film adaptation of Heart of the Sea - the origin tale of Moby Dick - renewed your thirst for nautical adventures last year, this hotly tipped debut about a whaling season in New South Wales in 1908 could be just the ticket, particularly if you like a bit of comedy with your mammal spearing action." - Sam Parker, Esquire UK

"Cinematic. The tale of a whaling family, its scope is ambitious and its heart big. You'll fall in love." - Marie Claire (Australia)

"Effervescent... Barrett's vivid prose gives savour to a highly enjoyable and unusual yarn." - Peter Pierce, Sydney Morning Herald

"A light-hearted tale of the 1908 whaling season in a small New South Wales town." - The Guardian

"Beautiful and brutal, witty and kind, Rush Oh! is a story of great surprises and a beating heart - a book to never forget." - Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

"Hugely funny and peopled with a cast of characters I came to treasure like my own friends, Rush Oh! reminded me why I love reading." - Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites

"Fans of Jane Austen will love the playful energy of the book, and so will anyone looking for a unique, inspiring read. Shirley Barrett is a masterful storyteller." - Anne Fortier, author of Juliet and The Lost Sisterhood

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Author Information

Shirley Barrett

Shirley Barrett is best known for her work as a screenwriter and director. Shirley's first film, Love Serenade, won the Caméra d'Or (Best First Feature) at Cannes Film Festival in 1996. In 2010, the script for her film South Solitary won the Queensland Premier's Prize and the West Australian Premier's Prize. Rush Oh! is Shirley's first novel. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

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