Christos Tsiolkas has written a novel about the fear of failure and the difficulty of living a full life after success which is not fully realised.
Danny Kelly is a swimmer. Swimming is his life and when he wins a scholarship to a school where he can work towards his goal of being an Olympic swimmer he can see his future success within his reach. Although he really does not fit in at the new school where he is an outsider he trains hard at his swimming and when he wins races he is a hero - the barracuda. When life is difficult he assures himself that he is the best.
The novel questions whether the win at all cost attitude that can exist in Australia is the attitude that we should impart to our children. Children should be encouraged to do their best but should their life revolve just around the one goal? What resources are in place if, for some reason, the goal is not achievable? What happens when the life the person has trained for has ended and the rest of life stretches ahead? How does one cope with a dramatic change in life expectations?
This is a thought provoking book which parallels real life situations where we hear of athletes' difficulties in coping with life after sport.