Author(s): Nick Earls
'I'm not about to attack,' she said. She smirked with one side of her mouth and looked up at me through the black spray of her fringe. Her eyes were dark and already she was playing some kind of game with me, or that's how it seemed. Her voice was a little deeper and huskier than I might have expected, so her last line had come out with a hint of something that might have been menace or even seductiveness or just a pitch at adult banter. Whatever it was, it stuck with me and it punctuated the moment and it didn't feel quite right for a conversation with a schoolgirl on my doorstep.o When Annaliese Winter walks down Curtis Holland's front path and into his life, he's ill-prepared for a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl who's a confounding and seductive mixture of adult and child. After years travelling the world with his successful band, Butterfish, he's not used to having a neighbour at all, let alone one who appears unimpressed by the slightly chubby ex-rock star next door. So when Curtis receives an invitation to dinner from Annaliese's mother, Kate, no one is more surprised than he is when he not only accepts but finds himself being drawn to this remarkably unremarkable family.
Even to Mark, a sebaceous fifteen-year-old at war with his own surging adolescence. As Curtis gets to know the Winters, he soon realises that with Kate divorced, Annaliese and Mark need a male role model in their lives, but it's hard for him to help when he's just starting to grow up himself and struggling to deal with the death of his father, and harder still when Annaliese begins to show an interest in him that is less than filial. Filled with acute observation, humour and tenderness, Butterfish is Nick Earls at his very best.
Nick Earls is the author of thirteen books, including bestselling novels such as Zigzag Street, Bachelor Kisses and Perfect Skin. His work has been published internationally in English and in translation. Zigzag Street won a Betty Trask Award in the UK in 1998, and Perfect Skin was the only novel nominated for an Australian Comedy Award in 2003. 48 Shades of Brown was awarded Book of the Year (older readers) by the Children's Book Council of Australia in 2000, and in the US it was a Kirkus Reviews selection in its books of the year for 2004. 48 Shades of Brown and Perfect Skin have been adapted into feature films, with Solo un Padre, the film adapted from the Italian edition of Perfect Skin, a top-ten box office hit in Italy in 2008. After January, 48 Shades of Brown, Zigzag Street and Perfect Skin have all been successfully adapted for theatre, and the Zigzag Street play toured nationally in 2005. The True Story of Butterfish is his first work simultaneously written as both a novel and a play.