Book Title: Hawkes Harbor
Author: S.E. Hinton
Many people would be familiar with the work of S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton from high school (eg The Outsiders, That was Then, This is Now, Rumble Fish). Still more would have seen the film of The Outsiders which was a vehicle once for such “rising” stars at the time as: Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Mickey Rourke and Emilio Estevez.
After an absence of over fifteen years, Hinton has released a new novel, “Hawkes Harbor” (US spelling). She has lost none of her talent for strong characterization, creating personalities who convincingly evolve and grow during the course of the novel. “Hawkes Harbor” doesn’t unfold in a linear chronological pattern and the reader needs to be aware of this and take stock of it. Given that the protagonist, Jamie Sommers, find memories his only escape from what are often horrifying present realities for him, this device of Hinton’s strengthens the quality of this work.
Hinton cleverly “sets up” a mystery at the beginning of “Hawkes Harbor” and, as only a novelist confident in their craft can do, reveals the solution to the mystery in the middle of the novel. She has more important things to do than to hold the reader in suspense to the end. She has characters to develop! It is a testimony to her art that she remains as interested in the narrative throughout, as she is in the slightly quirky personalities that we, as readers, encounter.
Hinton has been labeled as a writer for adolescents primarily for too long. “Hawkes Harbor” is a novel that should also receive an adult audience.
Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton is published in Australia by Pan Macmillan Australia.
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