Felicity Castagna won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction for her previous novel, The Incredible Here and Now, which was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia and NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and adapted for the stage by the National Theatre of Parramatta. Her collection of short stories, Small Indiscretions, was named an Australian Book Review Book of the Year. Castagna’s work has appeared on radio and television, and she runs the storytelling series Studio Stories.
No More Boats
The new novel by Felicity Castagna, whose previous book, The Incredible Here and Now, won the 2015 Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Fiction and was shortlisted for the CBCA and NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
It is 2001. 438 refugees sit in a boat called Tampa off the shoreline of Australia, while the TV and radio scream out that the country is being flooded, inundated, overrun by migrants.
Antonio Martone, once a migrant himself, has been forced to retire, his wife has moved in with the woman next door, his daughter runs off with strange men, his deadbeat son is hiding in the garden smoking marijuana. Amid his growing paranoia, the ghost of his dead friend shows up and commands him to paint ‘No More Boats’ in giant letters across his front yard.
The Prime Minister of Australia keeps telling Antonio that ‘we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come’. Antonio’s not sure he wants to think about all the things that led him to get on a boat and come to Australia in the first place. A man and a nation unravel together.
It is exciting to read a work of fiction that makes an explicit connection between its characters’ personal narratives and the specific events of political history; a tradition in American fiction, but rare in an Australian context. (Delia Falconer)
ISBN : 9781925336306
pp : 234