Paul Crabbe is the protagonist and first person narrator in the story. He lives in contemporary Australia, a place of energetic pleasure, freedom, space, however, it is also at the end of the world which is one of the first symbolic references to the fact that Paul Crabbe is never quite part of the action, he is always one step away from reality.
As both the central character and narrator of the story, Paul brings us into the story with him and looking back at it, he recalls it for us. Paul is an engaging character and describes his passage from childhood to adolescence. He is likeable although he does have his downfalls. He is excruciatingly insensitive as he persues Keller's past, however he evokes sympathy as he pedals furiously to Rosie's house, afraid he "might lose her".
The story of his world is told in a straightforward chronological account, describing his childhood, his time spent in Darwin as a pupil of Keller, his passage from adolescent to adult, his ambition to be a concert pianist and his ultimate realisation that "Honourable mention has become the story of my life".
Paul's character is majorly influenced by Keller throughout the course of the book. It is through Keller, that Paul learns many valuable lessons in life, however, ironically, he does not realise it at the time, "you are pig-ignorant Paul". A very self-centred charater, Paul believes that he is capable of anything and is quite arrogant about it. Only afterwards, looking back, does Paul realise how stupid he had been, "His echoes were always an immense improvement and this also - in my youthful arrogance - I decided was mechanical" One of the major personality traits of Paul is that he is never quite perfect, never quite all there, he seems...