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2021 - 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.