Read The Shark Net by Robert Drewe Online


Aged six, Robert Drewe moved with his family from Melbourne to Perth, the world's most isolated city - and proud of it. This sun-baked coast was innocently proud, too, of its tranquillity and friendliness. Then a man he knew murdered a boy he also knew. The murderer randomly killed eight strangers - variously shooting, strangling, stabbing, bludgeoning and hacking his victAged six, Robert Drewe moved with his family from Melbourne to Perth, the world's most isolated city - and proud of it. This sun-baked coast was innocently proud, too, of its tranquillity and friendliness. Then a man he knew murdered a boy he also knew. The murderer randomly killed eight strangers - variously shooting, strangling, stabbing, bludgeoning and hacking his victims and running them down with cars - and an innocent Perth was changed forever.In the middle-class waterside suburbs which were the killer's main stalking grounds, the mysterious murders created widespread anxiety and instant local myth. Many people were deeply affected, not least the young Robert Drewe....

Title : The Shark Net
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780143002154
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 358 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Shark Net Reviews

  • Nick
    2019-05-07 14:50

    I don't remember very much about this book. I purchased it in a bookstore in Rome, one of the very few books in english they had, and read it while riding trains up through italy, germany, switzerland, and holland. Outside a coffee shop in venice a young couple from australia saw me reading this and they knew the book. We drank some beers and had a laugh that night and i felt the world a bit smaller and a bit safer and a bit easier to abide.That being said i remember nothing of the book itself.

  • Dillwynia Peter
    2019-05-18 14:31

    This is a witty, funny and traumatic memoir of Robert Drewe growing up in Perth in the 1950s & 60s. There are some incredibly funny bon mots and turns of phrase that had me cackling in my seat. It is evocative of an Australia that is not more (actually a world that is no more).Until the iron ore mining boom, Perth was an isolated oversized town on the edge of the continent. Drewe writes: a city of branch managers for companies with head offices over east. And that would sum up the upper business echelon of Perth; so small fish in a smaller pond.It is a city of conservative niceness: of worrying about your public face, especially with any scandal such as a police record for public drunkenness or teen pregnancy and marriage, mixed religious marriages and so on. In actuality, this would sum up Menzies' Australia and would equally be at home in any of the larger southern Australian cities. The difference is the open living - the huge time devoted to being at the beach- and to the fact that quickly everyone knows each other, especially if you are middle or wealthy class. Connections made at school will permeate into your adulthood.And it does in Drewe's case. He knows a serial killer personally; the man used to work as a lower employee for his father: he has been to the house to deliver furniture for a company function. And he has grieved for one of the murdered victims - someone he knew at school and had met in the street a few days before the murder. In such a claustrophobic society as Perth, it is easy for many people to have a personal connection to the violent crimes committed. The killer is good at covering his tracks, and only due to a misunderstanding with his wife (she accepted his womanising & thought he was visiting mistresses) that he managed to escape capture for so long.The writing is light as we follow the growing pains of Drewe & the transition to adulthood & the inevitable change in relationship with his parents. All is done with wry humour and good writing. My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is the jerky nature of his jumping around 6 months to a 12 year in cases. I listened to this & I suspect it is more jarring than when read.Surprisingly, Perth still has retaining some aspects recorded by Drewe - in particular the obsession of living near the sea, the healthy sized sub group that stay behind & stay connected, so other peoples affairs are easily gossiped & spread, and their hatred for the eastern states.

  • Lyn Elliott
    2019-05-03 16:57

    The Shark Net won three Australian prizes in the year after it was published and was praised highly in reviews by writers such as Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Carey and Jim Crace. A reviewer in The New York Times compared Drewe's Perth to Camus' North Africa - 'blinding in its brightness'.Drewe conveys the essence of childhood and adolescence in this hot, isolated city, where most outdoor life is lived by the sea or the wide Swan River. He writes economically and creates vivid images of people and events. The story threads move in scenes; some alive with dialogue, some descriptive, some reflective. In most of them, Drewe and his immediate family and friends are in close focus, but in several chapters the murderer takes the stage.Many of the events he writes about are highly emotional, both within his family and in his community as eight people are murdered by a serial killer. One childhood friend is a murder victim; two others die. But Drewe keeps the emotional tone of his writing subtle. 'Nuanced', Peter Carey calls it. 'Deft' and 'beautifully structured'. It's also a great read.I've just picked up a copy of The Body Surfers by Drewe, ashamed that I haven't read him before.

  • John Clarke
    2019-05-27 17:43

    Don't be confused by the blurb. This book is not as interesting as it paints itself to be. Although the general writing in the book is quite good, Robert Drewes storytelling skills are not. Drewe would rather focus on his childhood in this memoir rather than the horrific murders Eric Cooke was commiting at the time. His priorities when telling his own story are all out of wack. There are more pages talking about Dunlop shoes then they are about the far more interesting serial killer, Eric Cooke. Drewe's own recount of his childhood just simply isn't interesting enough to write a compelling story about, and because of that reason I have to give this book 2/5 stars.

  • Tony
    2019-05-24 17:31

    I read this book while living in Perth for just over a year. I loved how it captured the essence of the place, even though it was set many decades in the past. All of the place names were very familiar to me, and much of the story takes place right in the neighborhood that we lived in. Having said that, I do not think this book would have resonated as strongly with me had I not had this personal connection to the setting. The story itself held my interest well enough, but the narrative wasn't really gripping, and the prose was more like reporting.

  • Alexis Mantheakis
    2019-05-02 15:35

    A brilliant book about the journalist-writer's life in Perth when a friend of his is killed by a person he also knew. A wonderful dissection of the writer's adolescence in what prides itself on being the world's most isolated city. Written with brilliant observations, sharp humour, and great narrative. The book was given to me by a friend who lives in Perth when I visited him last November, my first time in Australia, and I have re-read the book three times already. A really gifted Australian read it.

  • Felicity
    2019-05-22 16:52

    I saw Robert Drewe speak at a literature conference of a number of authors back in school, and it spurred me on to read this book. Captivating and wonderful-should be considered an Aussie classic.

  • Ewa
    2019-04-29 09:48

    I read the first few chapters... then flung the book across the room. That's how good it was.

  •  NathanielMaldonado
    2019-05-11 09:44

    sharks are scary

  • Rahul Dickstein
    2019-05-03 13:58

    This bildungsroman eclipses Drewe's loss of innocence during his childhood in the world's most isolated city; Perth, full of tranquility and friendliness. The first few chapters are very sluggish and slow-moving however soon enough this vibrant and haunting memoir reaches beyond the dark recesses of murder and chaos and can easily spark interest and capture your attention. Juxtaposing to the ordinary suburban backdrop of an innocent Perth, Drewe contrasts the murder grounds of the killer, going on to depict 8 horrendous murders in great detail and his connections to each one at a very personal level. Each chapter focuses on specific influences in the author's life while several of them follow the murderer's point of view instead, positioning the reader to feel more connected to the murderer and have a greater understanding of the events which occur. All in all, not my type of book however many readers should find this book a unique and fresh read.

  • Lucy
    2019-05-16 17:40

    Engagingly written and insightful snapshot of Perth in the 50's and 60's. Finally found a WA book actually about Perth and not set in the country somewhere!

  • Kelly
    2019-05-15 11:59

    While the writing was great, only a very small part of the book was about the murders, the rest was just a memoir of his life. Disappointing

  • Ape
    2019-05-21 09:34

    I read Robert Drewe's Grace quite a few years ago and I've been meaning to read something more by him for a while. Rather than dibbling into more fiction, I've come to his memories, The Shark Net. These cover the first twenty or so years of his life, growing up in Perth, Australia in the 40s and 50s. A very different world from my own childhood, both because I come from a completely different decade, and, from the north of England, the other side of the world.It was an interesting, and honest read - including those embarassing childhood and first-job-stupid-things-I-said-moments. It dots about a bit randomly, as do all of our childhood memories, picking out the random details of everyday life that stick out for us. Drewe's father was a regional manager of Dunlop and the man lived and breathed the stuff. He'd travelled to Malaysia and the UK as a young man to visit all parts of the rubber-making process, and really saw himself as part of the Dunlop family. Much to Drewe's horror at times, always getting these Dunlop shoes for Christmas which simply weren't the in footwear for kids at the time. His mother, Dot/Dorothy, was a housewife running the house, worrying about 'boiling brains' in the hot, Perth environment and being a little bit horrified at the kids running around barefoot. And this being back in the good old days of the 50s, certain subjects didn't seem to exist for discussion, such as sex and contraception, for example. Hardly surprising that couples ended up pregnant so young in life. And yet everyone seemed to look at it as though it had ruined Dot's life somehow? Anyway...Against all of this "usual" memoir, Drewe tells us about a murder trial he covered very early on in his journalist career: that of a serial killer who had been stalking the very regions of Perth Drewe grew up in, and had even murdered one of Drewe's friends. So there is this dark edge, mentioning the murders happening, or mentioning that somewhere they went or passed by also happened to be a murder site. What's more creepy is seeing the instances when this serial killer cropped up in their lives - sometimes seeing directly that it was him; and other more unsettling times with "prowlers" and peeping Toms (I suspect it was always this guy) turning up at the house at night, and somehow always managing to time it with when Drewe's father was out of town on business.

  • Kallie
    2019-05-23 16:45

    The Shark Net is a cultural study as well as a memoir, with all the suspense and color of a novel. Drewe's voice expresses unusually complex qualities: detachment and ironic humor, love of people and place, empathy. The portraits of his company man father, his mother whose talents have been laid aside, and even the serial murderer who brings such dark contrast to a sunny but very strange, provisional landscape, are the highlights of this story. Drewe makes little of himself, recounting his own adolescent foolishness and humiliations with sympathetic yet unsparing humor. I just read this book for the second time and found it every bit as suspenseful and fresh as during my first reading. The voice and writing are exceptional. This memoir would make a great indie film.

  • Troy
    2019-05-26 13:48

    A well crafted memoir of growing up on the West Australian Coast through the 50’s and 60’s. The time is set when Eric Cooke was murdering people and breaking into homes across Nedlands and Cottlesloe, and these events follow the authors growing up. The authors family life is intriguing and I felt could have been explored more. There’s dysfunction there. 3 Stars possibly a bit mean for this well written and regarded memoir.

  • Jabiz Raisdana
    2019-05-22 10:44

    It was odd reading a memoir about someone I had never heard of, but a recommendation from a friend was all I needed. Drewe is clearly a skilled writer, because even the most mundane tales of his childhood were a pleasure to read. A natural storyteller, Drewe gives you a sense of the 1960 in Western Australia. The story of the serial killer is woven in nicely with the story of his growing up.

  • L.E. Truscott
    2019-05-15 10:56

    This is a book that relies on a fudged blurb to draw readers in. “Aged six, Robert Drewe moved with his family from Melbourne to Perth, the world’s most isolated city – and proud of it. This sun-baked coast was innocently proud, too, of its tranquillity and friendliness. Then a man he knew murdered a boy he also knew.”The murder happened when the author was already a fully grown man working as a journalist and the boy who was murdered was also fully grown by that stage and about to embark on a veterinary science course. The murderer was someone who had worked for the author’s father and occasionally made deliveries to the family home but who had long before been fired for theft. And it was a full nine months between the murder and the murderer being identified and arrested, during which time the author had no knowledge of who the killer was.The memoir is actually 233 pages in before the story gets around to the man he knew murdering a boy he also knew. Everything before that is a well-written memoir of a very ordinary life. Most everything after that is as well. So I felt a little bit cheated. I thought perhaps it was going to be a fifty/fifty split between a memoir of the author and a history of the killer. It was more like ninety-nine/one split.There are so many memoirs of ordinary people these days that offer insights into particular periods in history but lack any important historical reason for having been written. Yes, the murderer the author vaguely knew was the last man executed in Western Australia before capital punishment was outlawed. But so what? The author’s connection was tenuous. My cousin once dated a man who would later go on to murder his mother and stepfather and it has never once occurred to me to write and publish my average life story on the pretext of that connection.Other than these gripes, The Shark Net is a perfectly fine memoir. The author writes well and conveys perfectly a sense of what it was like to live in Perth during the 1950s and 1960s as a child. But it’s nothing more than that.If you like reading memoirs, and specifically the memoirs of people who aren’t famous or accomplished or important historical figures, then you’ll no doubt like this book. But if you’re looking for a book about someone who made an impact or changed things or was important in and of himself, then this isn’t it.

  • Laurent
    2019-05-13 11:50

    Really great read about growing up in Perth and it's complicationsI can somewhat identify with the author of The Shark Net as I moved to Perth at a young age, grew up there and then moved out as soon as I could (but I came back after some years!).Robert Drewe has written a beautiful memoir about the positives, negatives and challenges about living in one of the most isolated cities on earth. It was unusual for me to actually recognise street names and locations in a novel, since so few good ones are written about Perth. What was most poignant for me was his analysis of Perth society - it's bitchiness, insularity and conservative nature. Up until about 5 or 6 years ago Perth was still very much like described in the book, very 'clicky'; although it has progressed with leaps and bounds in the past few years (thank god!).Anyways, I loved the sparse writing and Drewe's ability to convey the emotions and feeling of both himself as a youth and also the feeling and atmosphere of the city. The intense sense of fear, and loss of innocence of the city through the real-life Eric Edgar Cooke is well described and makes for fascinating, if somewhat grim reading.As a relatively 'laissez-faire' liberalist, some of the attitudes of the book are pretty eye-opening and make me appreciate how far society has opened up and embraced non-conformity. The most poignant one was the fact that Robert's dad barely acknowledged the birth of his first grandson; contrasted with Roberts' neighbors in Watermans who were happy for him and invited him in for a drink. In fact, Roberts' parents attitude to the whole unplanned pregnancy was pretty shocking but then I guess that is going back a long time.Anyway, enough of my ranting. I thoroughly enjoyed The Shark Net and highly recommend it - it's probably a 4.5 star book really. If you liked this book, you should also try Cloud Street by Tim Winton which is a classic of Australian literature and also very enjoyable.

  • Maureen
    2019-05-24 10:43

    Wow, this is a surprise packet of a book. I found it on my bookshelf and can't remember buying it, but I clearly did. It is an autobiographical account of Drewe's growing up in Perth 'the most isolated city in the world' during a period in which a serial killer was on the loose for over 5 years. Eight people were killed and others injured over this period, using many different methods including a gun, an axe and running someone down with a car. The killings were in a close geographical area to Drewe's house and included in the number killed was a friend of his. When the killer was finally caught he was an acquaintance of Drewe's, a former employee of his father's. Two innocent men had been convicted by WA police for 2 of the murders, using enforced confessions, before the real culprit was caught. This grisly story is interwoven with Drewe's family life, a middle-class autobiography running in tandem with a murder mystery. Top stuff.

  • Wolfy
    2019-05-01 12:43

    The Shark Net, By Robert Drewe, is an excellent example, or more accurately a memoir, of 1950s and 1960s Perth. A world as written in the novel no longer exists, where everyone knew each other, scandals would become public quickly, the open-living and everyone would worry about their public appearance. A significant aspect of this novel is Drewe's close relationship to the killer. Robert knew the man full well, working for his father and bringing in furniture to Robert's house, and how the events described in the novel would change Robert's Life. What's significant is the lurking danger of this world, that no longer exists, being so close to you for so long.The book is an aspiring tale of child to adulthood and the home life of an old age, drawing a great comparison between Robert's childhood to the modern day childhood.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-30 12:52

    Drewe builds an evocative portrayal of a boyhood in mid-century Perth, and though there is some weirdness (mostly in the figure of his company-man father, a rabidly loyal employee of Dunlop Rubber), for the most part the depicted childhood is almost aggressively normal. It's a study of a developing city, of a childhood spent digging tunnels in sand and picking at the crumbling, sandy foundations of the new suburban houses. It's a scrupulously-drawn vision of a certain time and place. But unfortunately this window on Perth just isn't enough to make the book a compelling read.I have also reviewed this book for my blog, Around the World in 2000 Books,

  • Margaret Moon
    2019-05-25 12:50

    The Shark Net did bring back aspects of my childhood though I grew up on the east coast, not the west. In our book club we speculated that the motivation behind the book was his relationship with his mother. Perhaps Robert Drewe wrote the book to clarify the circumstances of his mother's death. He reports the comments made by his father and family doctor that he was perhaps culpable in some way in such an offhand way. The book certainly drew the small town nature of Perth in the 1960s and 70s very well. It is an isolated place and has its own quirky and raw behaviours and opinions. I thought it a sad book in the end and was dissatisfied with the way the relationships were described. The journalistic writing style suited the storyline but didn't really grab or hold my attention.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-12 11:30

    Enjoyable and entertaining read, especially if you know anything about Perth in the 60's.A real nostalgia trip for those who lived through that era.... Combined with the terror of the Eric Cooke years.A bit before my time.... but enjoyable anyway.I felt it petered out slightly...... I always enjoy the childhood years of memoirs more than anything else. Their lives get dull and responsible. Just like ours. The carefree childhood years, when the decisions of adults are incomprehensible, are always fun to peruse.Glad to have finally read this....has been in my bookcase for years. Recommended.

  • Saskia
    2019-05-25 10:56

    I thoroughly enjoyed Drewe's humour above all else in The Shark Net. I often found myself laughing out loud to myself and when reading it aloud in class. The casual, non-linear style added to my enjoyment of the book, and the underlying serial murders offer a great insight into the community where Drewe grew up in the 1960s. The Shark Net has hidden layers, just as does the beautifully painted 1960s Perth, offering not only an entertaining, witty read, but also a serious literary text on the death of innocence in a community amidst a false sense of security and immortality. The Shark Net is a must for all Australians.

  • Larry Schlesinger
    2019-05-21 11:47

    The Shark Net did not disappoint, even though the murders and murderer play a relatively small (but important and binding) part in the plotline of the book.It begins with Drewe, a young whipper snapper journalist on the Western Australian newspaper attending the trial of the murderer, but then goes back to tell of the story of his family’s move across the country from Melbourne to Perth, a journey that in 1949 took 12 hours by plane with refuelling stops at Adelaide and Kalgoorlie.Please read my full review here.

  • Sharon
    2019-05-18 15:00

    I've known of this books existance for many years, but had never got around to reading it until now.A great book, based in my home town, it is intresting to read of events in the time that my mother would have been hearing of them and living them.I love that the author knew people involved in the crimes, and the insight to the way people thought at the time (a child born out of wedlock, is more shocking than a couple commiting audultry??) is facinating.Love the book, anyone from Perth West Australia should read this.

  • Jonathan Greenwood
    2019-05-13 12:50

    In The Shark Net, Robert Drewe nostalgically reflects on what was then both a time of innocence and a time of lost innocence. The novel retells the story of Eric Edgar Cooke, or "The Night Caller", who terrorised Perth during the early 1960s with gruesome and random murders. One of the victims was a personal friend of Drewe's. At times hilarious and poignant, the novel celebrates an Australia of a time that has long gone by.Drewe's writing so brilliantly evokes the Australian character and an almost wistful longing for the halcyon days of early 1960s' Perth.A masterpiece of memoir. 5/5

  • Lucynell
    2019-05-14 11:50

    I found this a bit hard to read, mainly because of its 'rough' pacing and whiteout bleakness, which both surprised me some when i found the writer spent time as a journalist. But i gave it my usual 50-60 pages and a little more and by then it seemed to smooth out. There is a hovering menace and an underlying threat throughout the story and at 350 some pages long it's enough to keep you close, but sadly considerably detached. I have a feeling i may revisit this one sometime in the distant future.

  • Calzean
    2019-05-13 12:48

    A memoir of Drewe's life in Perth from the age of 6 till he leaves just as he turns 21.Drewe paints a sunny, warm and sandy picture of the climate and geography of the most remote city in the world. Drewe's father is a Branch Manager in a city of Branch Managers. Funny in parts, a good insight into life in Perth in the 1950s and 60s where the book revolves around a series of murders where Drewe finds he knows the murderer, some of the victims and most of the locations.Enjoyable.

  • Calvin Taylor
    2019-04-29 10:57

    A sensitive and honest reflection on a childhood in Perth, Western Australia. The narrative is saturated with the sand, sea and gossip of suburban life during the 50s through 70s. The serial murderer tale is woven intricately throughout the story. It's clear what Drewe is attempting to do in this piece, though the symbolism of the 'shark net' and montage of experiences setting up a kind of social-bildungsroman; still it does feel somewhat laboured at times. A worthwhile read.