by Sofie Laguna
✅ Editor: Allen & Unwin
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“It’s quite a feat to write characters with such nuancein exploiting its tales easy to expose faults in the system with what is becoming signs of empathy, the Laguna is an author to prove the novel is a crucial element of the document of the time.Louise Swinn, AustralianI never had any words to ask anyone questions, so I never had any answers.Abandoned by his mother, and only on the occasion of the visit of his secret, the father, Justine is raised by his pop, a man tormented by visions of Burma’s railway road.Justine finds sanctuary of the Pop Chooks and Le Starter, where the banks of the Murray River are so narrow, it seems that they are likely to touch a place of breathtaking natural beauty.But the river can’t protect Justine from dangerHis father is a criminal, and the world he exposes him to can be deadly.Justine is neglected and underestimated, a shy and often silent observer of her chaotic world.She learns that she has a sense of herselfShe must find ways to survive so much neglectShe must cling to friendship when she comes, she must hide when she has to do, and finally, she must fight.The Starter is a brilliant, haunting novel about a child’s navigation in a very dark and indifferent world of men of power and violence, where adults can’t be trustworthy and comfort can only be found in nature.This compassionate and claustrophobic vision of a child in danger, and to a society in difficulty celebrates above all the indomitable nature of the human spiritSofie Laguna, winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Prize for Les Yeux des Brebis, shows once again she is a writer of rare empathy, originality and brilliant talent.
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