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The Choke Kindle Edition
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'It is quite a feat to write characters with such nuance...in harnessing her storytelling facility to expose the flaws in the system with what is becoming trademark empathy, Laguna is an author proving the novel is a crucial document of the times.' - Louise Swinn, The Australian
I never had words to ask anybody the questions, so I never had the answers.
Abandoned by her mother and only occasionally visited by her secretive father, Justine is raised by her pop, a man tormented by visions of the Burma Railway. Justine finds sanctuary in Pop's chooks and The Choke, where the banks of the Murray River are so narrow it seems they might touch - a place of staggering natural beauty. But the river can't protect Justine from danger. Her father is a criminal, and the world he exposes her to can be lethal.
Justine is overlooked and underestimated, a shy and often silent observer of her chaotic world. She learns that she has to make sense of it on her own. She has to find ways to survive so much neglect. She must hang on to friendship when it comes, she must hide when she has to, and ultimately she must fight back.
The Choke is a brilliant, haunting novel about a child navigating an often dark and uncaring world of male power and violence, in which grown-ups can't be trusted and comfort can only be found in nature. This compassionate and claustrophobic vision of a child in danger and a society in trouble celebrates above all the indomitable nature of the human spirit.
Sofie Laguna, winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award for The Eye of the Sheep, once again shows she is a writer of rare empathy, originality and blazing talent.
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About the Author
'The pace and push of the plot are unflagging, and Laguna expertly places the reader right inside Justine's young mind' TLS
'By turns lyrical and brutal' Irish Times
'Laguna's prose is both raw and beautiful, and will almost certainly break your heart' Heat
Best Books of the Month (March) Cosmopolitan
'What a feat of suspenseful and tautly lyrical storytelling this is, a moving story that ends on a note of bittersweet hope' LoveReading
'Laguna builds suspense deftly and without mercy. From the moment The Choke begins, a slingshot's elastic is precisely, steadfastly being pulled back... and the stone Laguna lets fly ricochets inside you for days afterwards' Sydney Morning Herald
'A harrowing story ... saved by her sweetness, her dreamy perceptions and a feel for the natural world ... exceptional' Saga
'Poetic and moving ... it'll stick with you' Culturefly
'A devastating, raw, piercing and heart-breaking read' Sissi Reads
'Gloriously raw, heart-felt book that hooked me instantly' Ronnie Turner, author of Lies Between Us
'Emotive and raw, dealing unflinchingly with difficult subjects, Justine's story needs to be heard' Bookish Chat
'Laguna has beautifully captured the bewilderment of childhood and the emergence of adulthood in her character of Justine. It is so unquestionably heartbreaking ... an extraordinary read' Readings
'[Laguna] shows all the mastery of language that garnered her a Miles Franklin Award two years ago for The Eye of the Sheep ... full of richly drawn characters. Beauty and ugliness sit squatly side by side' The Big Issue
'Utterly addictive' The Herald Sun
'...a book that is both gritty and utterly exquisite. The Choke is another extraordinary novel from a writer who is never afraid to go deep into the darkest recesses of human depravity and find something beautiful.' Compulsive Reader
'In her sagacious way, Laguna manages to show both how an upbringing inescapably defines a person and the ways in which a person can rise phoenix-like from their past to create a life of their own reckoning' The Australian
'An authentic voice, an evocation of childhood and memory that, for all its terrors, evokes the sublime, tragic moment when innocence submits to experience. Laguna creates a world and a character and a language that we become immersed within. That she does it with a subject matter of such destructive cruelty, that she does it with such rigor and power, is a testament to her craft, skill, and maturity.' Christos Tsolkias, author of The Slap
'Enriched with creative flair and a unique voice' Waterstone's Books Quaterly
'The language is pitch-perfect - it is the light in this dark tale...An engrossing exploration of the different ways people can find peace, the different ways humans respond to their environments, the small and large abuses that are constantly overlooked or allowed, and where that line lies.' The Age
'The power of this finely crafted novel lies in its raw, high-energy, coruscating language which is the world of young Jimmy Flick, who sees everything...The Eye of the Sheep is an extraordinary novel about love and anger, and how sometimes there is little between them.' Miles Franklin Literary Award 2015, judges' report
'Truthful and beautiful' Newcastle Herald
'Laguna's great skill is in conveying contradictory human depths.' Adelaide Advertiser
'Sofie Laguna has perfected the voice of a child. The Eye of the Sheep is a dark tale told with perfection' Culture Trip
'One Foot Wrong is an extraordinary achievement... orginal and compelling' The Big Issue
'One Foot Wrong will at times take your breath away...the darkest yet most poignant Alice in Wonderland imaginable' Media-Culture
'...bold writing, where everything is new again: Hester's adult word seen always through the endearing eyes of a child' The Australian
- ASIN : B071LT2VJC
- Publisher : Allen & Unwin (23 August 2017)
- Language : English
- File size : 1067 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 377 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 13,093 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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I found it difficult to review ‘The Choke’ however, as I feel I’m unable to do this masterpiece justice.
Sofie Laguna has a rare gift as she is particularly adept at seeing the world of dysfunctional adults through the eyes of a child.
Her writing is unique; her descriptions, both of the area Justine lives, and Justine’s life and her internal traumas are outstanding.
Another reviewer aptly commented .... ‘Sofie Laguna's writing is so searingly effective that this reader in particular was at times afraid to read more.’
The story is set in country Victoria in the late 1950s. The story is told by Justine aged from 9 to 14 years. Justine is an innocent, neglected, deprived, young girl, with no-one around her but men and certainly no one to explain life to her. She is dyslexic and can’t verbalise her thoughts and questions... "I never had words to ask anybody the questions, so I never had the answers."
The fact is Justine is a determined young girl, kind and impossible not to love... in fact as the reader you are compelled to care deeply for her and hope for her. All of Laguna’s characters in ‘The Choke’ deal with a multitude of issues from guilt, jealousy, revenge, grief, family fighting and PTSD... it’s not an easy read, it’s gritty and Australian, and raw but so very worthwhile.
This is a rip your heart out story of love, ignorance, hate, deceit however the experience of following Justine's story is in the end uplifting. It feeds your soul & reminds you what a truly great book can do - teach you, transport you, humble you...
Tragic, sad and beautiful all at once...this is a fantastic piece of work.
When one thinks of the plight of Justine, it’s a story that has been on going since humans first walked upright in the grasslands of Africa.
I would imagine it’s really only been in recent times that women are sufficiently educated, supported through their society and taught how to deal with unplanned pregnancies. Once again, it highlights the importance of a stable family and a basic education for everyone.
Sofie Laguna has created some great characters and tied them all together with skill and thought. The grandfather who is suffering from PTSD, a father who is absent for months but still dominates the structure of the family. A Lesbian aunt, a disabled boy who becomes Justine’s best friend and another dysfunctional family down the road that is also tied to Justine’s family. A heady mix of characters that could easily make the story confusing and overly complicated, but it isn’t.
The reader can’t help but foresee how Justine is doomed to suffer from her surroundings. Sofie Laguna teases the reader with the possibility that Justine’s Aunt will intervene and save the day but regretfully that happens after much agony for Justine and the reader.
One can only feel great remorse and sorrow for Justine and her disfunctional family but thank god for happy endings. Sofie Laguna has done a mighty job in bringing to us the plight of many young women like Justine who are not educated or protected from discrimination and a judgmental society.
I would recommend The Choke to anyone, but mostly young girls.
In part tragic, predictable, edgy and dark, this made me cry, and very occasionally smile or laugh, and dread the train wreck of what I feared lay ahead for Justine. I read this in just two days and was glued to the story throughout, and I'm so glad the book ended the way it did. The ending fit the story perfectly.
Like The Eye of the Sheep, and One Foot Wrong, the writing is, on the surface, deceptively simple, but Laguna very cleverly draws us inside the lives of her characters, in this case Justine's world, and I was carried along with her on a tide of events that I so wanted to stop, but couldn't.
This is a book I kept reading; I had to find out.