Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf
Satchel O'Rye, 23 and unemployed in a dying town in rural Australia, feels trapped but obliged to stay with his delusional father and unwell mother. Satchel's dad has closed his service station because he believes that "God will provide." His mother works as a nurse but her pay barely keeps the family afloat. While chopping wood, Satchel sees a strange striped animal. The sister of a friend tells him it's a sidestep wolf or Tasmanian tiger thought to be extinct in Australia. Then Satchel's beloved dog is hit by a car. When he sees the tiger again, he's caught in the moral dilemma of either revealing its existence to gain recognition and perhaps money for his dog's surgery or leaving the animal to run free. Sonya Hartnett, an award winning Australian author, draws interesting parallels between Satchel, the town and the tiger, all struggling to survive.
For more fascinating reading on Tasmanian tigers, read Carnivorous Nights: On the trail of the Tasmanian Tiger by Margaret Mittelback, a hilarious account of a naturalist's trek to this wild part of the world.