Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: A Country too far - Writings on asylum seekers (ed Rosie Scott & Tom Keneally)

This anthology of writing is an act of imagining the lives of others, and as such is an act of compassion as holy as any. It is an act designed to make sure we do not stop ourselves from imagining , properly and in every human detail, the plight of asylum-seekers in this country.  And it is an act designed to make sure that we do not stop there: that we do something. We need to honour our obligations to them, and to ourselves. (Anne Funder)
I've just finished reading 'A Country too far' a collection of of short stories, memoirs, poetry and essays ... including contributions from some of  Australia's best known writers; Les Murray, Christos Tsiolkas, Anne Funder and Elliot Perlman (to name a few), which challenge some of the assumptions held about the world of asylum seekers.

The book adds a different perspective and language to the debate around asylum seekers. A number of the inclusions highlight their own family stories, for example Les Murray's contribution highlights his Wife's journey from Hungry to Australia.  The threads which tie the collection together are love and compassion.

The collection certainly highlights for me the contribution fiction can bring to our social and political debates. It is a collection that is worth reading (rereading and passing on), whatever your views on this issue. I know I'll be reading through it again.

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