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Into the Suburbs: A Migrant's Story

2021 - Highly commended

Highly commended

Christopher Raja is 11 when he arrives in Melbourne from India and settles with his family in an outer suburb. While he severs emotional contact with his homeland, he doesn’t really feel at home in Australia either. Meanwhile, his father David becomes increasingly disillusioned about the move — his idea — and what it means for the worth of a human being. As Christopher enters university, tragedy strikes.  

In this compelling memoir of less than 200 pages, Raja manages to traverse race, class and the migrant experience with clever brevity. The prose achieves at times a level of sparse lyricism. Raja does not linger on every detail, but every detail has its function, leaving the reader with the sense that the author has imbued the work with hidden depths. This is a lovely, at times shocking, book with a clear voice, and an important addition to the rich landscape of migrant experience in Australia. 

About the Author

photo of christopher raja

Christopher Raja

Christopher Raja is the author of the memoir, Into the Suburbs: A Migrant's Story (UQP, 2020). He co-authored the play The First Garden with Natasha Raja, which was performed in botanical gardens throughout Australia and published by Currency Press in 2012. His debut novel, The Burning Elephant, was published in 2015 (Giramondo). It was written with the assistance of an Australia Council New Work grant. Christopher lived in the Northern Territory for 12 years and has been twice shortlisted for its Chief Minister’s Book of the Year award. Raja migrated from Calcutta to Melbourne in 1986. He is the 2021 UTS Copyright Agency New Writer's Fellow. He lives in Alice Springs and Melbourne.