No Place Like Home by Caroline Overington
I could not wait to get my hands on this book after reading a couple of the author’s books over the past month – most notable her non-fiction work about living in New York as a Correspondent (Jolly Good read!). I nearly yelped in the book shop when I found it and could not wait to scurry home and sink my teeth into it.
So how was it? Is it weird to have read it and I am still unsure if I liked it or not? I read it in great gulping chunks. Finished it. Just can’t say what I thought of it. I know my heart hurts a little thinking about it. There is something that I can’t quite pin-point so apologies folks but I will be using this blog as a psychology session of sorts, so I might ramble trying to dissect the reader experience . Just bear with me…..
The book finds it voice through a police chaplain – nice guy – who finds himself as part of the police operation at a seige in a large shopping centre. A young man from Tanzania has a bomb around his neck and is locked in a lingerie shop with five hostages. You hear from every single person in the story – each one of them has a very distinct voice. Except Ali Khan who happens to have the bomb attached to him. You hear so much about him but you do not hear a single whisper from him.
It has been a good fortnight since I read this book and now, revisiting it, and remembering this young man makes me feel blue. Is that what it is?? Was it profound sadness that brought on a vastness of hopelessness in this book?? Maybe that is what it is. I finished it and just felt So.Incredibly.Empty.
This book is a tragic tale. Remembering Ali Khan and his story actually brings a black cloud of despair into my wee office this morning. So did Ms Overington do a good job in conceiving the story to bring to light so many issues facing Australia today? She packs a punch as the following, in no particular order, is tossed about – refugees, assylum seekers, racism, government, hope, discrimination & fate. I won’t go into detail about how she does of this but she is clever, no doubt about it. Her style is part news article, part storytelling, part police report – all mashed together.
In the end, she left me feeling like an empty shell which is I imagine how poor Ali Khan felt on that fateful day and for many days before……so I felt exactly how she wanted me to feel.
Would I recommend it for a Book Club? Absolutely! Politics, human rights and right and wrong – it’s all in here so pop it on your list.
That is my 2 cents worth and thanks for the counseling session…..I feel much better now. I think.