Metal Fish, Falling Snow
Cath Moore
Publisher: Text Publishing
ISBN: 9781922330079
Awards Year: 2021
Category: The Book of the Year: Older Readers
Judge's Critique
This beautifully written novel is a confident and creative YA debut that explores the themes of grief, family and identity with wonderful imagery and genuine humour. The language used is awe-inspiring and unique. After the loss of her mother, Dylan is taken on a journey across outback Australia towards the grandfather she has never known, challenging her notion of family and forcing her to confront her own racial identity. Dylan is a quirky character, attempting to make sense of the death of her mother, her racial identity and her relationship with her abusive father – a character who is flawed and dealing with his own demons. Her grief is palpable and heartbreaking, deftly explored through the touch of magical realism present throughout the novel. The outback Australian setting adds a feeling of vastness to the story and is so well illustrated that the reader can almost feel the heat of the desert and smell the stale beer in the pubs. It is a welcome change to read male characters who are complex, emotional, present and caring. Dylan’s relationships with her stepfather, grandfather and young cousin are a highlight. As a child of Guyanese and French parents, Dylan’s commentary on her identity as a mixed-race Australian child is a welcome addition to the YA landscape that feels wholly authentic.