'A retired sports’ journalist who we come to know only by his nickname, ‘Lumpy’, decides to tell the life story of one of his earliest and most interesting friends, Robbie Sparrow. The writer is caught in a dilemma; should he ‘tell it like it was’, or sanitise a life for a more palatable product. After consultation with the subject of the proposed book, ‘Lumpy’ finally decides to recount the story ‘warts and all’.
'So we share Robbie’s naughty, and sometimes wicked childhood, his adventurous and experimental teenage years, and the early part of his working life, which sees him fishing commercially up and down the West Australian coast. The last fishing trip results in a period of incarceration in Fremantle Gaol.
'Called up for National Service, Robbie subsequently does a year-long tour of duty in Vietnam. Upon his return he retreats to a bush block in the great southern of Western Australia. ‘Lumpy’ helps his friend develop the block and build his house, and meets Angela for the first time. Then with commitments at two America’s Cups, ‘Lumpy’ and Robbie lose touch.
'When there is a ‘twitch on the thread’ everything has changed, and not for the better. A previous ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between Robbie and Cliff Birmingham, honoured years before, is now paid back in spades, and Robbie Sparrow has some ‘golden years’, and a positive influence on some young lives. ‘Lumpy’ gets an ending to his book, but it really wasn’t the one he wanted.' (Publication summary)