Into That Forest, by Louis Nowra, hardback by Egmont Books

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THE first thing you notice about Louis Nowra’s latest novel is the language.

Disorienting and childlike, narrator Hannah immediately explains that she once “lost” her voice and had to relearn it many years ago.

What follows is a completely engrossing story of two children, Hannah and her friend Becky, lost in the Tasmanian wilderness for four years.

Their survival is due to an unlikely alliance with a pair of native hyenas, or “tigers”, as Hannah calls them.

The animals lead the girls into a life of hunting, tracking, running on all fours and gorging on freshly-killed meat, as the youngsters gradually lose all sense of their humanity.

Both joyful and heartbreaking, Nowra has created a truly extraordinary world which is difficult to leave.

It’s a magical book for adults and teenagers.

Kathryn Gaw