It is 1954, in a construction camp for a hydroelectric dam in the remote Tasmanian highlands, where Bojan Buloh had brought his family to start a new life away from Slovenia, the privations of war and refugee settlements. One night Bojan's wife walks off into a blizzard, never to return - leaving Bojan to drink too much to quieten his ghosts and to care for their three-year-old daughter Sonja alone. Thirty-five years later, Sonja returns to Tasmania and a father haunted by memories of the European war and other, more recent horrors. [Larger font]
Comments from Groups
Lovely imagery. After all the discussion would have liked the time to re-read it. Whangamata 001 An incredibly sad but compelling read. Beautifully written. Nelson 003 Not a book one could say they enjoyed, the story being so harrowing. Discussion was lively though. Richmond 005 Background to post-war Tasmania appreciated as we did not know much about it. Awful treatment of refugees. Hamilton 026
What a story! And the discussion gave the least interested readers of the book a wider appreciation of the work. Wonderful writing with prose that put us right into the conditions of refugee living, but oh, the tale was harsh and harrowing. To be fulfilled in life we need another to help us function effectively. Over half the group gave high ratings, even one 5/5 but several members didn't/couldn't finish the story and gave no rating.
Mixed response. It was one member's 'best book ever'. Some found it a little too 'dark' - and put people off visiting Tasmania!
Two members didn't finish the book not liking the topic. Others thought the writing very good. We had a very interesting discussion about the topic and the characters.
A delightful read enjoyed by all in our group.
A hard book to get into, rather bleak but a very good descriptive story about the grim lives of immigrants in Australia in those times. A lively but thought-provoking discussion.
This was a book that our group really appreciated, as we knew little of the difficulties faced by migrant workers in Tasmania. It was not an easy read but a worthwhile one.
This was a sad story, overly long and could have done with better editing. A good read nevertheless, as it gave an insight into the immigrant experience as recently as the 1950s.
A good example of imagining how historical trauma may affect lives. As with all good stories, there is hope in the final chapters.
A compelling and harrowing read. Flanagan's writing was beautiful. We highly recommend this for others.