Author(s): Sofie Laguna
'Laguna shows all the mastery of language that garnered her a Miles Franklin Award... The Choke is full of richly drawn characters; beauty and ugliness sit squatly side by side.' The Big Issue "I never had words to ask anybody the questions, so I never had the answers..." Abandoned by her mother and seldom visited by her unpredictable, violent father, 10-year-old Justine is raised by her grandfather, Pop - a man tormented by visions of war. Through years of poverty and neglect, Justine finds solace in the staggering natural beauty of the nearby Murray River. But when outside threats infiltrate even this sanctuary, who is there to protect her from danger? Exposed to a lethal world, Justine must navigate the final years of her precarious childhood alone. She must find ways to endure, she must run when she has to, and, ultimately, she must fight back. Sofie Laguna, winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award, once again shows she is a writer of rare empathy, originality and blazing talent.
I found this book completely absorbing and utterly heartbreaking in equal measures. Sofie Laguna has captured the isolation and small town claustrophobia of 10 year old Justine so beautifully. Her world is tinged with the ever present threat of male violence, poverty and neglect and yet she learns to survive despite this. The Choke refers to the banks of the Murray River where the river runs narrow. Jo