Future Girl

Asphyxia

Future Girl
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Future Girl

Asphyxia

Piper’s mum wants her to be ‘normal’, to pass as hearing and get a good job. But when peak oil hits and Melbourne lurches towards environmental catastrophe, Piper has more important things to worry about, such as how to get food.

When she meets Marley, a CODA (child of Deaf adult), a door opens into a new world - where Deafness is something to celebrate rather than hide, and where resilience is created through growing your own food rather than it being delivered on a truck. As she dives into learning Auslan, sign language that is exquisitely beautiful and expressive, Piper finds herself falling hard for Marley.

But Marley, who has grown up in the Deaf community yet is not Deaf, is struggling to find his place in the hearing world. How can they be together?

Future Girl is the art journal of sixteen-year-old Piper, a visual extravaganza of text, paint, collage and drawings, woven into a deeply engaging coming-of-age story set in near-future Melbourne. 

Review

Written by Deaf artist and writer Asphyxia, Future Girl is a remarkable Own Voices story about a Deaf girl, set in a near-future inner-city Melbourne where food security is under threat. Portrayed as the private art journal of sixteen-year-old Piper McBride, the novel is a stunning object with every single page decorated in full colour, including full-page portraits, garden maps and stencils.

Piper has been brought up by her mother to hide her deafness and pass as ‘normal’. When she meets Marley, a charming CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) who teaches her Auslan and introduces her to his remarkable Deaf mother, her world changes dramatically. Piper starts rebelling against her previous life.

The story is set against the backdrop of a society where synthetic food, scientifically packed with nutrients and anti-disease components, is distributed by the government. Piper’s mother is chief food scientist, but when she is retrenched from her job, she and Piper are so poor they have to rent out their house and move into the backyard. Their rations are reduced and they are literally starving.

Piper learns from Marley’s mother how to grow her own food and starts a community vegie patch on the nature strip of their street. The government deem ‘wild food’ poisonous and want to shut it down, so Piper starts using her art to protest, with serious consequences.

This is an enthralling coming-of- age story about a young Deaf woman finding her voice in a challenging future. It is an insightful window into the Deaf community for hearing readers and a powerful voice for Deaf readers. It is also a beautiful artistic object. Utterly wonderful! For readers aged 12+.


Angela Crocombe is the manager of Readings Kids.

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