Hey Brother is a compelling and powerful coming-of-age story that tackles returning soldiers and PTSD, family dysfunction, mental illness and alcohol abuse in rural Australia.
Before leaving for war in Afghanistan, Shaun Black gives his little brother Trysten a mission of his own. Keep out of trouble. Their mother, Kirsten, deals with Shaun's absence by drinking, leaving Tryst to fend for himself. Tryst's response is to rage against his father who lives in a caravan by the creek, to get into a punch-up at school, and to line up for another fight with his uncle who has come to stay.
When the fractured family receives news that Shaun is coming home, things begin to look better. But when Shaun returns, Trysten soon realises he has a whole new mission – to keep Shaun out of trouble.
Hey Brother tells the story of a tough kid from the bush whose world comes crashing down on his shoulders. But with his own blend of fury, resilience and deadpan humour, Tryst proves to be up for every challenge. Even talking to that girl on the bus.
'A devastating portrait of youth, rage and tenderness. Trysten Black is an enormous achievement and Dundler is a writer to watch.'
-Kristina Olsson, acclaimed author of Boy, Lost
Jarrah was raised on Bundjalung country in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. Since completing his arts degree at Griffith University he's worked in Australia and abroad as a grant writer, pizza-chef, AusAID volunteer, university tutor, and a stonemason's labourer.
His debut novel Hey Brother was selected for a Byron Writers Residential Mentorship, a Varuna Writers Fellowship and shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel's Literary Award (2017). Jarrah currently lives back in the northern rivers region with his partner and children and works in nearby Lismore as a mental health peer support worker with people who have a lived experience of mental illness.
Dundler in conversation at Gleebooks Blackheath on Friday, August 24 at 6.30pm.