Bloodlines: Reviews

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‘At last a collection of Pete Bowes’ story telling mastery’

I have been reading and delighting in Pete Bowe’s stories since I first encountered them as “Larry Stories” on Don Norris’s Real Surf web site many years ago. Amongst occasional surf reports Larry or Pete would post these reflections on life that had the capacity to deck you and have you sit slack jawed at the excruciating pathos they so often contained. These are magical stories but not for the faint-hearted. The beautifully nostalgic tales of early years at Byron are balanced with the chilling reflections of predatory beach-side adults in Patience. His narrative is there to cast across us the full suite of human emotion and his understated, crisp writing brings it home with unique power. Beyond the Break did me in in 3 pages. Typical of Pete’s way. He doesn’t spare the pretentious, the bullies, cowards or superficial, amongst others. What a rare treat to work one’s way through this collection.

A five-star review from James on Amazon.

‘Tried a sample and enjoyed that and so bought the book’

I came across this book by chance, tried a sample and enjoyed that and so bought the book. It offers 90 or so short stories (very short, many of them) written in a direct and economical style. I’ve found wry humour, clever little plots, and flashes of pathos – plus various characters from parts of modern life I don’t know.

The Sample gives the flavour of the stories, but no sample can tell you how well a book has been formatted for Kindle. Sometimes I’ve been exasperated by deficiencies in navigation or glitches with the text. No problems here. The publishers (Bennison Books) have got the software sorted.

I have a folder on my Kindle for books that I like to dip into when I have 5 or 25 minutes to spare: old favourites for the most part that I can pick up and put down, plus short stories and poems. This book has found its niche in that folder. There are times when you want to fling Bertrand Russell or James Joyce aside and try something quick and diverting, and Bloodlines does the job for me. 

A five-star review from johnstevensjs on Amazon.

‘From poetic to poignant to hilarious …’

HarperCollins author, Sean Doherty, has praised Peter Bowes’ recently published Bloodlines and given the collection a five star recommendation:

‘Between Bondi and Byron Bay, Pete crossed tracks with a rogues’ gallery – surfers, itinerants, brawlers, the lost – all of them lovingly hand-painted by Pete’s pen. His short vignettes in Bloodlines are visceral, teeth rattling, funny and even true, and they stretch from then to now and this horizon to that, from the poetic to the poignant to the hilarious.’

Sean is the author of My Brother’s Keeper, and MP: The Life of Michael Peterson, both published by HarperCollins. Sean is currently Features Editor of Surfing World, Australia’s oldest surfing magazine, and Senior Writer for Surfer magazine.

‘A sense of humour and joie de vivre …’

‘If you believe his Facebook profile, he’s a very old surfer, born on June 13th, 1910. He is also an accomplished writer. Obviously one of his favourite topics is the sport of kings, but you can, and hopefully will spend hours reading his other musings on pretty much anything that has caught his fancy over the course of his life. The list is long. I find Pete intriguing, because if he really is 102 years old, he has an intellect that is still as sharp as a tack and a sense of humour and joie de vivre to go along with it. I’m sure he’s enjoyed a few TGIFriday parties over the years! To your health, Mr. Bowes!’ Dave Mailman

Dave was a co-founder of Surf Europe Magazine, Marketing Director for Quiksilver Europe, President of the ASP Europe from 2007-2010 and has been a freelance event commentator and journalist in surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding and other action sports since 2003. He’s also an editor for EpicTV.

‘Great storyteller’

I love the way Pete puts his stories together of incidents and characters that have crossed his path over the years along the coastlines of Australia. Very enjoyable and some recognisable locations and experiences enhance the book.

A five-star review from Peter M Bellanto on Amazon.

‘Stimulating and refreshing’

‘Peter Bowes writes interesting and thought provoking observations of life. Some of his stories are sad, some stimulating and all interesting. His writing style is unique and his use of the English language is not dissimilar to that of writers such as Cormac McCarthy et al. A fascinating book. I look forward to reading his next and subsequent books.’

A five-star review from ‘Harry’ on Amazon.

‘If you read only one book this year, it should be this one.

Although I majored in English Literature when I was at university I rarely read books anymore. Since they invented families, the internet, emails, surfing, motorcycle riding, friends, drinking and so on it is such an effort to concentrate on anything as time consuming as reading a book. And I’ve read so many of them they mostly seem the same to me now. With fiction in particular I find myself just not caring what the authors think or write anymore. I generally picture them as unattractive fat pale middle aged people wearing track suits with unkempt hair and too many cats who have not showered for several days sitting in their gloomy houses desperately typing away. But not Peter. Peter’s book is interesting and entertaining and funny.

I first found Peter’s work on the internet, where he was causing trouble on a surf report web site, infuriating other reporters and patrons alike with masterfully and originally composed accounts of events often peripherally related to surfing but rarely dealing with the actual surf conditions that day. From time to time there were massive arguments about what to do with Larry, as he was then known, often because of the difficulty or irritation his long stories could cause those trying to simply check the surf quickly, as opposed to reading 750 words on a Byron Bay abattoir or the surfing hierarchy in Bondi mid-last century.

Peter was a dangerous intellectual in that world, and I loved the way he used the internet to expose people to his work who would otherwise never come across it, whether they liked it or not. He was and is however also an incredibly talented writer who draws from a vast body of influences but has his own unique and unmistakable style. He is never boring and always entertaining. He paints a fascinating world drawn from his life experience with masterful composition and perfect comic timing. If you read only one book this year, it should be this one. It is certainly the only book I have read this year.

A five-star review from Alex R on Amazon.

‘Loving this book’

I am loving this book. So many memorable  lines and stories.

Roy from Realsurf

Preview Bloodlines



  1. Peter Bowes the thinking surfers writer and literary landscape gardener ,one senses salt dripping from his cracked brow as he bends over his keyboard, a never empty glass of darkened rum of to the side, smoke curling lazily around a treasured room it littered with the flotsam of a life well ridden , the Australian cultural landscape is well blessed by chaps of this cut and by god we demand more …sir.

  2. To read Peter Bowes, is calming, it is. A time and place, with all its problems, contradictions, sadness, a real full sadness, a loss, that will never be replaced.

    But, this guy is an impressive golden child, that is what Mark Twain would’ve have said. They would have laughed together, these men.

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