A Country Too Far

Rosie Scott, Tom Keneally

A Country Too Far
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A Country Too Far

Rosie Scott, Tom Keneally

One of the central moral issues of our time is the question of asylum seekers, arguably the most controversial subject in Australia today. In this landmark anthology, twenty-seven of Australia’s finest writers have focused their intelligence and creativity on the theme of the dispossessed, bringing a whole new perspective of depth and truthfulness to what has become a fraught, distorted war of words.

This anthology confirms that the experience of seeking asylum - the journeys of escape from death, starvation, poverty or terror to an imagined paradise - is part of the Australian mindset and deeply embedded in our culture and personal histories. A Country Too Far is a tour de force of stunning fiction, memoir, poetry and essays.

Edited by award-winning writers Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally, and featuring contributors including Anna Funder, Christos Tsiolkas, Elliot Perlman, Gail Jones, Raimond Gaita, Les Murray, Rodney Hall and Geraldine Brooks, this rich anthology is by turns thoughtful, fierce, evocative, lyrical and moving, and always extraordinarily powerful. A Country Too Far makes an indispensable contribution to the national debate.


‘If the truth is silenced, lies can fill the space,’ says Geraldine Brooks in A Country Too Far, a stunning anthology and searing moral work that beautifully gives voice to the voiceless without preaching at any point. This work feels like a voice in the wilderness until you realise that you wish you could have said it that way.

The fiction immerses us in the sorry world of seeking asylum and affirms our commonality and humanity. This is contrasted with the essays that decry the division and heartlessness of the way we treat refugees. But the unanimous call for compassion and the centrality of love is really what ties these writings together. For that reason alone, it is worth owning a copy.

The contributors include some of our best-known writers (Les Murray, Tom Keneally, Anna Funder, Christos Tsiolkas, Geraldine Brooks) but I really enjoyed finding gems among some of the lesser-known writers. Judith Rodriguez’s poetry was a joy to read, even though the subject is no joyous matter, and I found Eva Hornung’s work put cracks in my heart.

In a political era where there appears to be no bottom to the barrel of immigration policy, A Country Too Far is timely, important and wise.

Andrew Carter works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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