The Choke

Sofie Laguna

The Choke
  • Format
  • Publisher
  • Country
  • Published
  • Pages
  • ISBN

The Choke

Sofie Laguna

Winner of the Indie Book Awards (Fiction) 2018

Abandoned by her mother as a toddler and only occasionally visited by her volatile father who keeps dangerous secrets, Justine is raised solely by her Pop, an old man tormented by visions of the Burma Railway. Justine finds sanctuary in Pop’s chooks and The Choke, where the banks of the Murray River are so narrow they can almost touch - a place of staggering natural beauty that is both a source of peace and danger.

Although Justine doesn’t know it, her father is a menacing criminal and the world she is exposed to is one of great peril to her. She has to make sense of it on her own - and when she eventually does, she knows what she has to do.

A brilliant, haunting novel about a child navigating an often dark and uncaring world of male power, guns and violence, in which grown-ups can’t be trusted and comfort can only be found in nature, The Choke is a compassionate and claustrophobic vision of a child in danger and a society in deep trouble. Sofie Laguna, winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Award for The Eye of the Sheep, once again shows she is a writer of rare empathy, originality and blazing talent.

Review

Sofie Laguna’s third novel for adults gave me that sweet reading moment we all pine for – when you realise that your lived world is colliding with that of the page. Reading becomes the sole purpose of the day. You cannot put the book down because you are immersed, completely and utterly, until the story finishes. Laguna was awarded the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award for her creation of Jimmy Flick in The Eye of the Sheep. It is possible that this novel will give her even more, deserved, acclaim.

The Choke centres on ten-year-old Justine. Her voice narrates the affecting and demoralising consequences of male violence in blocking her potential pathways. The title refers to the banks of the Murray River, where the river runs narrow, occasionally flooding the surrounds. It is here that the story is staged. Laguna elegantly portrays the dampness, the dirt, the longing and the knowledge of those who live so near the Murray River – and so far from helping hands. Laguna’s ability to expose isolation and despair is remarkable. The deeper I immersed myself in Justine’s world, the sadder and more choked I became. Witnesses to Justine’s life are held up as beacons of possibility, but still – as it is with deep-set poverty – they’re unable to change the direction of this young girl’s life. Laguna has beautifully captured the bewilderment of childhood and the emergence of adulthood in her character of Justine. It is so unquestionably heartbreaking.

Readers who enjoyed Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, or Georgia Blain’s Between a Wolf and a Dog, will be delighted with this novel. This is an extraordinary read.


Chris Gordon is the events manager for Readings.

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...