In the Winter Dark
"Night falls. In a lonely valley called the Sink, four people prepare for a quiet evening. Then in his orchard, Murray Jaccob sees a moving shadow. Across the swamp, his neighbour Ronnie watches her lover leave and feels her baby roll inside her. And on the verandah of the Stubbses' house, a small dog is torn screaming from its leash by something unseen. Nothing will be the same again.
"A tough suspense story, finely poised on the edge of panic, from one of Australia's best and most popular writers."
"Hair-raising vision... the pulse quickens, the spine chills, the stomach turns." - Weekend Australian
"An extraordinary achievement..." - The Age
It's dark already and I'm out here again, talking, telling the story to the quiet night. Maurice Stubbs listening to his own voice, like every other night this past year, with the verandah sinking and the house alive with solitary noises the way it always is when the sun's set on another day and no one's come to ask the questions they're gonna ask sooner or later. I just sit here and tell the story as though I can't help it. There's always something in the day that reminds me, that sets me off all hot and guilty and scared and rambling and wistful, like I am now.
This morning I found Jaccob down at his boundary fence drunk as a mongrel again, and I carried him up the hill to his place and lit him a fire, fixed some food, cleared away the bottles and that shoe he leaves around, and I left him there in that big old house before it drew breath and screamed my name. An old man like me can lift him now, for God's sake. He's always drunk or silent and skyward as a monk. There's only me and him left, but he doesn't speak.
From the McPhee Gribble paperback edition, 1989.
A portion of an earlier version of In the Winter Dark has appeared in Antipodes.
A film adaptation of this novel was released in 1998. The film was directed by James Bogle, from a script by James Bogle and Peter Rasmussen, and featured Blenda Blethyn, Ray Barrett, Richard Roxburgh and Miranda Otto.
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Last modified: March 27, 2001.