What to Read After… Look Up! 20/09/21
The Shark Caller
Set in a rural village on the shores of Papua New Guinea, this is a remarkable tale of love, loss and friendship. Following the death of her parents, Blue Wing moves in with Siringen, a gentle village elder who becomes her waspapi, or guardian. Obsessed by his role as a shark caller, Blue Wing pleads with Siringen to teach her this ancient tradition, but he refuses, fearing that the anger in her heart will lead her to misuse the skills.
When an American professor arrives to study coral, Blue Wing is asked to show his daughter, Maple, around the island. Maple is initially rude and hostile, but with patience and compassion, Blue Wing discovers the cause of her unhappiness and, realising they have much in common, the girls form an affectionate, sisterly bond.
The inclusion of Papuan Pidgin English words throughout the book enlivens the narrative, particularly when read aloud. Engaging characters, a compelling plot and vivid descriptions of the glorious setting masterfully transport the reader to Blue Wing’s island. This exceptional novel, which explores complex emotions of guilt and grief, will remain with the reader long after the final page.