Paper Nautilus

First published by Penguin Australia (1987)
New edition, Wakefield Press (2008). Buy the book

‘A disarmingly simple story, told with an elegance of style that immediately adds distinction–a feat not to be taken lightly. Jose took risks in opting for such an unremarkable narrative thread: life in a country town, small dramas of love and relationship, ghosts from the dislocations of World War II. But he has found the language to burnish these incidents till they shine and the imagination is quickened. The no-tricks simplicity of the prose reveals very accomplished tricks indeed.’  Thomas Shapcott, The Good Reading Guide

In a small town on the Australian coast Penny grows up to marry the boy who has waited for her. Few know the truth about her birth. Her uncle Jack is one, for he shared with her father not only his childhood but also the horror of their wartime experience. Jack and Penny’s special bond is as rare and precious as the beautiful nautilus shell they find washed up on the beach – entwined with its history are the secrets of their past and the tenacious passions of the other people who have had a stake in their lives. Richly evocative of postwar Australian life, Paper Nautilus subtly illuminates the complexities of ordinary people and the surprising powers of the human spirit.