No More Boats

Felicity Castagna. Europa, $17 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-60945-509-5
In her timely and powerful novel, Castagna (Small Indiscretions) successfully delves into issues of immigration, urban development, and xenophobia. Readers follow the story of Italian immigrant Antonio Martone in the Sydney suburbs along with his wife, Rose, and their two grown children, Francis and Clare. The narrative is set against the backdrop of an Australia deeply divided over the Tampa Affair: in August of 2001, Prime Minister John Howard’s government refused permission for the Norwegian freighter, MV Tampa, carrying 433 rescued refugees, to enter Australian waters, triggering a massive controversy. The story opens in 1967 with a flashback to new immigrant Antonio’s happier days building his first home, but immediately hints at doomsdaylike changes to come. As Castagna writes, “He is not yet the Antonio Martone” whose “own existential crisis coincides with that of a nation.” From there, the story jumps to 2001 and into the various perspectives of Antonio’s grown son, daughter, and wife. Injured in a construction accident caused by untrained migrant workers, Antonio struggles with his newfound hatred of recent immigrants, eventually committing an act that makes him the unintended poster child for the anti-immigration movement. This is a haunting and compassionate consideration of the question of who can and cannot come into a country. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 03/08/2019
Release date: 02/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 250 pages - 978-1-60945-510-1
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