I Came Back is set on the idyllic Georges River, south of Sydney. It’s the story of a young man named Sal, living in Oyster Bay, who overhears his father confiding with a friend that Sal is a no-hoper and always will be. Sal, an introvert, is struggling to find a path in this life.
When Sal injures his knee badly, the pain persists and by the time he leaves school he’s an opiod addict for which he’s eventually placed in drug rehab.
In rehab, he shares a room with a weird dude, Mousie, who helps him get work at his father’s Come Back Boatshed in the Georges River National Park. Sal finds a new optimism in life.
After Mousie jumps from the Como Bridge and died, Neptunia, an acquaintance of Mousie’s father, Harry, attends the wake where she meets Sal.
Sal and Neptunia develop an awkward relationship. While living very different lives, they feel a deep connection with each other. Both are busy: Neptunia runs a crystal business, and Sal’s busy making up for lost time.
After Harry dies, his wife, who hates the boatshed, hands it over to Sal. Sal is so lost that Neptunia steps in to support him and the two start living together. This is the beginning of their dream of running a boatshed as they raise a family.
While they are both busy raising their two children, Sal has a relapse and turns to drinking and partying with mates till the marriage is close to over. Eventually Sal begs Neptunia to stay.
To mark a new start, they venture into the new world of renting out electric boats.
Jibber, friend of a nearby petrol-motor boatshed owner, and part-time standover man, schemes to burn down Sal’s boatshed after his mate complains about the threat to his own business. After one of Sal’s helpers outsmarts Jibber, he wants to burn Jibber’s house down.
But Sal intervenes to negotiate and persuade Jibber to change his ways. We realise at this moment how Sal’s life has grown so much, and how he sees the virtue of giving another person a chance in life, a virtue often displayed by the so-called people of the river.
The story is told in first person, with many voices, a true reflection of the diversity of life along the river. Even the river gets a few chapters. This ever changing range of voices stirs the reader’s imagination to share in the creation of the story. That’s how the imagination does it: different scenes and setting, different characters and also different voices.
E-copy version of I Came Back available on Amazon Contact author for a hard copy.