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Archive for April, 2012

Review: Trafficked by Sophie Hayes

Trafficked by Sophie Hayes, published by HarperCollins (2012)

Reviewed by Mamoon Alabbasi

Even if one is familiar with stories of human trafficking, one never ceases to be shocked when hearing the details of new ones. And shocked you will be when you read ‘Trafficked’, an autobiographical account by Sophie Hayes, a young British salesgirl who was forced into prostitution after she accompanied her boyfriend, Kas, to Italy.

Although it appears that Sophie had ample opportunities to escape from her captor, who said his girlfriend must make sacrifices for him to pay off a debt, she saw no salvation in running away as Kas had threatened to kill her younger brothers in retaliation. She felt she was “brainwashed” into thinking that there is no hope in escaping the grip of her boyfriend. For this reason she never told the Italian police her true story when they took her to the station on one occasion, nor did she attempt to flee back home when Kas was away for a whole week while she was briefly working on the streets of France, on another occasion.
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Review: Floundering by Romy Ash

Floundering by Romy Ash (Penguin Books Australia, 2012)
Reviewed by C P Howe

Ash’s first novel, set in Australia, is distinctive and memorable. Whether it does enough to gain the widespread support that some early commentators seem to think it deserves is another matter. The story is centred on Tom, his older brother Jordy, and their mother Loretta. Their ages are not disclosed, but Jordy is probably in his early teens. Tom is a little younger. Loretta is most likely in her late twenties.

Michael Laws would undoubtedly categorise Loretta as ‘feral,’ and Ash does everything she can to re-inforce this perception. Loretta collects the two boys from her parents’ house and they head off on a road trip. Loretta doesn’t have a clue what the boys need, drives a car that is falling apart and full of rubbish, and seems to not have much money. She feeds them junk food from time to time, which she may or may not have stolen. Constantly hot and thirsty, the boys appear glad to be with their mother, as far as we can tell.
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Review: Sr Citizen by Charles Olsen

Sr Citizen by Charles Olsen

Reviewed by Helen Heath

You can, I think, immediately pick up when reading Olsen’s poetry that he is a musician and visual artist. The rhythm of flamenco taps through his poems, which are frequently snapshots, fragmented images and instances captured.

The intense otherness we often feel when travelling is constantly present. Moments seem so vivid and the traveller feels hyper-aware. I imagine Olsen sitting outside a Spanish cafe, listening to flamenco, jotting these down. At the same time Olsen seems to be finding his place.
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Review: Demolition by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock

Demolition by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock (Walker Books 2012)
Reviewed by Ruth Brassington

It’s clear why Demolition’s dedication is to “Mum, who gave me stories, and Dad, who gave me music”. Sutton’s rhythmic story-telling, with Lovelock’s bright pictures, is a delightful action-packed offering for pre-schoolers fascinated – or even frightened – by large machinery and adults who enjoy reading rhyming language to them. The award-winning team that gave us Roadworks has made another great picture book with the same large design format and rhythmic rhyming style.

The clear primary colours of the double-page illustrations are overlaid with the dusty tones of a demo site and few words. In the hands of men and women who are clearly in control, huge realistic machines “crash” and “crunch” their way through a building. As with Roadworks, illustrated facts about machines such as bulldozers, crushers and excavators follow the story.
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Review: A Tiger In Eden by Chris Flynn

A Tiger In Eden by Chris Flynn (Text Publishing 2012)

Reviewed by Andrew Jack

Billy Montgomery is a bad man, or at least so he’d have you believe. A former Loyalist hard man on the run from the law, he spends the opening of A Tiger In Eden living like the worlds toughest backpacker in Thailand. Enjoying the beaches, the brawling and every female tourist he can talk into bed, we know Billy is running from something terrible in his past:
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