'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
'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
'...the stone Laguna lets fly ricochets inside you for days afterwards.' The Age
'[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
Praise for Sofie Laguna
'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
'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.