Monday, September 21, 2009

The Infernal Optimist

Author: Linda Jaivin Publication Date: 2006 Category: Australian fiction Who'll want to read it? Adults Point of no return: Page 1: "There she was, waiting for me - Marlena, me own little Version a Heaven. She Who I Love, Honour and Try to Obey. She Who I Call She Who For Short, what she is, being even shorter than me." Classic line: " 'Nothing behind the razor wire is lovely,' he said again, like she hadn't heard it the first time. 'Except present ladylike company,' I go. 'You yourself are looking particulately lovely today, April.' Her lips moved briefly in the direction of up. 'You've got a way with words, Zek,' she goes. I couldn't think of anything to say to that." pg 175 What's it all about? Zeki gets out of his latest stint in jail only to find himself thrown into Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. It turns out Zeki, born in Turkey and raised in Australia, never became an Australian citizen because he couldn't be bothered waiting in line. With his criminal record and his perceived "bad character" this makes him a "five-o-one" awaiting deportation. Some of what Zeki sees, hears and experiences in Villawood will make you laugh, but will probably mostly make you cry. Zeki seems to be a bit of a dummy, but his innocent yet somehow perceptive insights cut right through the core of the injustices occurring in detention centres at the time this book was written. Through all of the humour, you just know things are going to go so very badly for many of the inmates. It's a well written book that gives faces and emotions to the people we may only hear about in the news. Publisher: Fourth Estate

No comments: