Claire Zorn’s ability to write varied settings and characters is evident from her body of work.
Sam’s mother has died suddenly, leaving him no choice but to contact his Aunty Lorraine, from whom his mother had been estranged for a number of years. The only next of kin, Sam moves from Sydney to Lorraine’s house in a small coastal town. He is reunited with his cousins, Shane and Minty. Minty is an aspiring pro-surfer while Shane is his manager. Lorraine’s abusive husband is in jail but he has left an indelible mark on his family. Sam is ignorant to the cause of the family separation, why his mother suddenly ceased contact with her sister and mother, and why Shane seems to despise him. Sam learns to surf and he and Minty become close again. Sam surfs to pass the time while he is grieving for his mother. Minty is in training, destined for greatness. The family has some dark secrets kept from both Minty and Sam. When their Grandmother reappears at her daughter’s funeral the family seems to begin to mend, just a little. Secrets are slowly revealed and Sam has a lot to deal with before he can begin to find peace with himself.
One Would Think the Deep is an intricately written, well-worked narrative. Characterisation is strong and the dialogue rich and realistic. Claire Zorn has an ability to place her readers in the story. I felt immensely for Sam and his family and only a gifted author can make readers feel that way. Zorn’s depiction of surfing and life in a small coastal town was genuinely sensual and I felt like I was more of a participant in the story rather than a reader. This is a great read for a visit to the beach.