‘Black Tide’ by Peter Temple


1999, 356 p.

That’s it. I’m not reading another Peter Temple ever.

In fact, I said that to myself after I had to re-read Truth for my CAE bookgroup earlier this year. I looked back at my original blog post and everything I said there, I say again. Too disjointed. Too much conversation. Too confusing. And definitely not worthy of a Miles Franklin prize.

I’m amazed to find that I’ve read as many Peter Temples as I have. I quite liked The Broken Shore, but by White Dog the appeal had worn off. In the Evil Day was set in Africa, but it had all the same problems (too disjointed, too much conversation, too confusing etc).  He does dialogue well, but why doesn’t (didn’t) he just write plays? At least the speaker is identified in a script and you don’t have to count back to see who’s talking. And who are all these people he keeps bringing in? Or capturing a setting, which he also does well: why doesn’t (didn’t) he just write travel books?

At least Black Tide is a Jack Irish story, and I can see Guy Pearce, the three old blokes at the pub, Cam, Harry Strang and Stan the bartender in my mind’s eye.  Thank God for television, I say. The dodgy betting is here, and the carpentry, and a bit of sex, along with a confusing story about dodgy companies.  But I really have no idea what it was about.

So that’s it. Ned Kelly Awards and Miles Franklin prize be damned. If someone chooses another Peter Temple for bookgroup ever again, I’m just going to say “Nup. I don’t like Peter Temple”.

My rating: 6/10

Read because: ONLY because it was chosen for my CAE bookgroup.

5 responses to “‘Black Tide’ by Peter Temple

  1. I really like Peter Temple but I’ve only ever read him via audiobook, where, if the voices are being done well, the he said, she saids are redundant and annoying.

    • One of the ladies in my bookgroup listened to it as an audiobook too, and she really enjoyed it and didn’t have the slightest problem in working out who was who in the conversations. So…perhaps a better script writer than prose writer.

  2. Interesting Janine. I really really liked Broken shore, and I liked Truth pretty much too, though not as much as Broken shore. However, I don’t feel at all driven to read more. However, Mr Gums does not like his style – the disjointedness, so I sort of understand what you are saying there, though I didn’t really feel that myself.

    • I was attracted to his depictions of place at first, and I still think that he writes locations really well. But for me, that’s not enough in a crime fiction novel.

      • I guess I’m not into crime. I read those two for specific reasons, and enjoyed them, but that didn’t make me want to read more because I’m not at all interested in crime books per se or series.

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