> Skip to content

Grief, loss and guilt are enormous burdens for a whole family to carry.

Grief, loss and guilt are enormous burdens for a whole family to carry.

A tern will fly to the moon, to live its life in summer … I suppose I’d like to have a little bit of that.

It’s boom time in sixteen-year-old Kenno’s coastal holiday town. Tourists are buying and building and developing property, and easy money seems to be everywhere. Even birds flock there to nest on the sand and on the cliffs, out to the islands. But for those who live in the holiday town all year round, there is bleakness too, and Kenno’s family, haunted by a terrible loss, struggle to get by.

When the family is evicted from their home, Kenno figures they’re entitled to a little easy money of their own, and that it’s his job to makes things right. Believing it could go a long way to healing them in all their separate ways.

Kenno finds a beautiful house and forms a plan to get the money for it. But the closer he gets to the money, the more complicated things become, and when he involves his sister in his plan, who likes to test the world and goes looking for danger, things move quickly beyond his control …


Perhaps the most impressive thing about this book is the way it steadily evokes and elicits strong feeling.Twitcher explores the most specific and private of individual interior states. But the novel is also about society and money: in charting the decline of a family, Saywell explores some of the ways in which the vast divisions between rich and poor are established and maintained. The scene in which the landlord brings a couple and their children to inspect the family's home is quite harrowing, and the delusions behind Kenno's single-minded plan to make money are nothing short of heartbreaking.

Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Sydney Morning Herald

With her second novel, Saywell has written skilfully of the painful attempts to navigate morality, sexuality and family secrets in adolescence. Twitcher is an exploration of the hard knowledge that comes with steps into adulthood, where parents once admired are revealed as fallible and flawed.

Bethanie Blanchard, The Australian

Saywell's portrait of the boy is a delicately nuances, sometimes enigmatic one. This, too, is a hauntingly memorable novel, but the memories are bittersweet and not always comfortable.

Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser


Australian Coast to Coast Country Style

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    March 1, 2013

    Vintage Australia

    304 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    March 1, 2013

    RHA eBooks Adult

    304 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Cherise Saywell

Desert Fish


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Best Laid Plans
Fool Me Once
The Golden House
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Swing Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Girls
Cold Blood
Fifty Shades Darker
The Trip of a Lifetime
The Light Between Oceans
Ready Player One