Book review: The Sound by Sarah Drummond

The Sound by Sarah Drummond is another freshly published book by Fremantle Press. I’m in love with this publisher’s knack for picking thoughtful stories and this historic novel packs a punch – literally, almost.

Similar to Troppo‘s main character, Wiremu is a protagonist caught up in the events rather than shaping them. As a Kiwi man he joins seal hunters to make his way to Australia and avenge his fathers death and pillage of his village.

But revenge is a lot harder when you’re working on a sealing boat in the middle of nowhere along Western Australia’s south coast.

Sarah Drummond has based her novel on actual events and crafted a fine, powerful story, which is not for the fainthearted. There is something about immersing yourself in the level of violence against nature and humans alike that is deeply unsettling – unimaginable how the author has coped with the research required to create the story.

This was a haunting read that went straight under my skin. More than one time I struggled with the level of violence. If the clubbing baby seals and rape and kidnapping of little girls affects you than this story is not for you.

Still, The Sound kept me drawing back in. Why? Humanities lack of compassion, reliably selfishness and recklessness towards others including nature are themes that shape our everyday living.

The problems we face today – ecological through climate change or socio-political – have not appeared overnight. Sarah is painstakingly depicting the start of industrialisation in remote Australia, and the wake of destruction it has left in its wake.

We’re still picking on these scars. It’s terribly frighting and eyeopening at the same time.