THE BROKEN SHORE
Peter Temple's acclaimed crime fiction novel 'The Broken Shore' chronicles the unfolding of a murder investigation on the rugged Victorian coastline through the eyes of a morally flexible small town cop. The novel showcases the complex social structures apparent in contemporary rural Victoria, particularly focusing on the often shaky relations between anglo and indigenous Australians. It also addresses the segregation between the have's and the have not's within society and the institutions that separate the social classes and explores the intricacies of the arguably broken Australian/Victorian legal system. Temple uses Joe Cashin, his lone-crusader type protagonist, to assert his view that the justice system shouldn't be inaccessible to certain demographics. Through the development of other characters Temple is able to both provide readers with a well-rounded reflection of the varied societal views and values held by rural Australian citizens as well as touch on other issues that aren't as central to the plot such as; modern day familial dynamics, homosexuality and the subsequent homophobia always seems to be nipping at it's heels regardless of how progressive we'd like to think we are as a nation, the gradual decay of the institution of marriage and post-heyday romance. However to his credit Temple doesn't dabble on these issues long enough to distract in any great way from the central themes of justice, racism and over coming prejudice both personally and collectively.
The most prominent issue serving as a backdrop for the storyline of 'The Broken Shore' is the multifaceted segregation between the indigenous and non-indigenous members of the community in which the novel is set. Much like the shore upon which they exists the insular townships of Cromarty, Port Morno and Kenmare are inarguably broken and divided.Throughout the text Temple investigates these divisions in a way that exposes the corrupt small-town legal system for the...
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