When The Night Comes was enthusiastically pressed upon me by a book seller and I mean surely he knows what he is talking about, it is his job? Well, I found that yes, yes he did. When The Night Comes is the second novel form Australia author Favel Parrett. Following Isla and her brother’s new life in Hobart with their mother we watch as Isla becomes captivated with the big red ship, the Nella Dan. Isla’s mother befriends a sailor of the big read ship and the reader follows the friendship between Isla and her Danish sailor friend.
This is a beautiful and haunting tale that captivate me from the beginning. The plot is very loose and meanders across the two summers of friendship between Bo, cook on the Nella Dan and young Isla. The language was simple and evocative and all I wanted to do was savour the words and linger over the pages. I didn’t want it to end and managed to make it last three whole days. This novel probably wont appeal to some, it is driven by character and mood rather than plot. In fact I found it interesting that some characters were purposely under-developed. The focus really is Bo and Isla.
It certainly doesn’t give the reader the full picture. The chapters seem to meander across character and time and place and yet, not in an indulgent or confusing way. For me, everything about this novel just worked and clicked for me. When The Night Comes really is mood writing at its best. To my delight I even discovered that it comes with a suggested playlist. Something I discovered early so was able to listen to as I was reading and could picture the songs as they become relevant in the book. In fact, it is such a great old playlist that I’m listening to it as I type.
I already know this will become a favourite, a book I will read again and again. I also loved that the setting was in Hobart, a city I fell in love with several years ago so I could even picture Isla as she walked along the Wharf, through the Salamanca markets. I’m also already looking forward to getting my hands on Parret’ first novel, Past The Shallows. I give When The Night Comes four big boats, just like Nella Dan and her sisters. Also, for all those history fans, the Nella Dan was a beloved ship that travelled from Denmark to Australia to Antarctica and back.