No More Boats

Felicity Castagna

No More Boats
  • Format
  • Publisher
  • Country
  • Published
  • Pages
  • ISBN

No More Boats

Felicity Castagna

The new novel by Felicity Castagna, whose previous book, The Incredible Here and Now, won the 2015 Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Fiction and was shortlisted for the CBCA and NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

It is 2001. 438 refugees sit in a boat called Tampa off the shoreline of Australia while the TV and radio scream out that the country is being flooded, inundated, overrun by migrants. Antonio Martone, once a migrant himself, has been forced to retire, his wife has moved in with the woman next door, his daughter runs off with strange men, his deadbeat son is hiding in the garden smoking marijuana. Amidst his growing paranoia, the ghost of his dead friend shows up and commands him to paint ‘No More Boats' in giant letters across his front yard.

The Prime Minister of Australia keeps telling Antonio that we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstance in which they come, but Antonio’s not sure he wants to think about all those things that led him to get on a boat and come to Australia in the first place. A man and a nation unravel together.

Review

No More Boats follows two previous works of fiction by Australian author Felicity Castagna: a collection of short stories and a YA novel, which won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. This latest is a family drama about an unconventional breakdown, suffered by Antonio Martone, a post-war Italian migrant who has been pushed into retirement after an accident at his building site, in which he was injured and his best friend killed.

When we think about migration and diaspora, we often dwell on memory; current scholarship is interested in intergenerational memory and inherited cultures. Castagna, very astutely, draws a link between migrant histories and the forgetting and distancing which happens between first- and second-generation migrants as they encounter social and economic pressures to fit another cultural mould. The results are explored as the Martone family’s fundamental misunderstandings of each other unravel against the backdrop of the Tampa crisis in 2001. The wave of bigotry and fear that flows out of Canberra and into the streets of Parramatta adds to Antonio’s confusion and isolation, as he is seduced by an odd group of right-wing troublemakers in his front room. Antonio’s incongruous racism, portrayed as a sort of madness, rocks his family and mirrors the dislocating and alienating events happening in politics – the effects of which we are still encountering now.

No More Boats is a striking work of suburban Australian realism. Though the premise seems to belong to an absurdist novel, it’s grim and absolutely relevant to our present, disappointingly similar as it is to the new-old rhetoric of assimilation and blatant xenophobia that is hurled around by politicians now. Castagna makes an essential point about the connection between our long history of cognitive dissonance when it comes to settlement, migration and dispossession, and how necessary it is that we try to remember and connect in order to maintain our humanity.


Georgia Delaney works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

This item is in-stock and will ship in 1-2 business days

Our stock data is updated overnight, and availability may change throughout the day for in-demand items. Please call the relevant shop for the most current stock information. Prices are subject to change without notice.

Sign in or become a Readings Member to add this title to a wishlist.

 Read reviewNo More Boats

No More Boats

Felicity Castagna

The new novel by Felicity Castagna, whose previous book, The Incredible Here and Now, won the 2015 Prime Minister's Award for Young Adult Fiction and was shortlisted for the CBCA and NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

$26.95Buy now

Finding stock availability...

 Read reviewThe Last Garden

The Last Garden

Eva Hornung

From the author of the award-winning Dog Boy, a powerful literary work about frailty, redemption, and the healing power of animals.

$29.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

 Read reviewThe Choke

The Choke

Sofie Laguna

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.....

$32.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

Storyland

Storyland

Catherine McKinnon

An ambitious, remarkable and moving novel about who we are: our past, present and future, and our connection to this land.

$27.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

 Read reviewThe Book Of Dirt

The Book Of Dirt

Bram Presser

An extraordinary and absorbing novelisation of one family's tale of Holocaust survival and a grandson's unrelenting dedication to ensuring his ancestor's stories will never be forgotten.

$32.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

 Read reviewHalf Wild

Half Wild

Pip Smith

Sydney, 1938. After being hit by a car on Oxford Street, sixty-three-year-old Jean Ford lies in a coma in Sydney Hospital. Doctors talk across her body, nurses jab her in the arm with morphine, detectives arrive to take her...

$29.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...