Nominated by:

The National Library of Australia, Canberra

Publisher of nominated edition:

Allen & Unwin, Australia

The Eye of the Sheep

Sofie Laguna      

2016 Longlist

Told from the mesmerising point of view and in the inimitable voice of Jimmy, this is an extraordinary novel about a poor family who is struggling to cope with a different and difficult child.

Ned was beside me, his messages running easily through him, with space between each one, coming through him like water. He was the go-between, going between the animal kingdom and this one. I watched the waves as they rolled and crashed towards us, one after another, never stopping, always changing. I knew what was making them come, I had been there and I would always know.

Meet Jimmy Flick. He’s not like other kids – he’s both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy’s mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She holds him tight enough to stop his cells spinning. It is only Paula who can keep Jimmy out of his father’s way. But when Jimmy’s world falls apart, he has to navigate the unfathomable world on his own, and make things right.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Sofie Laguna’s first novel One Foot Wrong received rave reviews, sold all over the world and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Her books for young people have been named Honour Books and Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and have been shortlisted in the Queensland Premier’s Awards.

Librarian’s Comments

The Eye of the Sheep is a deeply moving portrait of a family who find difficulty in managing life’s challenges while also dealing with the complexities of familial relationships combined with the difficulties of parenting a child with special needs. This is a heartbreaking story, beautifully told through perfectly constructed images which reveal the world of Jimmy Flick, a young boy navigating a lonely and at times terrifying place, inhabited by a cast of characters who struggle to understand him. Laguna’s flawed cast struggles for redemption only to reveal the inadequacy of their will to overcome their greatest temptations which serve only as their nemeses. The reader’s journey seeks resolution, however it is not an easy path and we can only hope that through seeing all that is lost that the characters can start to rebuild their lives again. The book has been recognised in writing circles across Australia and has been nominated for two literary prizes including: Stella Prize (shortlist) and the Miles Franklin Literary Award (longlist).

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