Books

Book Review: ‘Floundering’ by Romy Ash

This stunningly beautiful novel with a timeless theme of never letting go falters towards the end, but is a truly impressive debut.
Floundering

Floundering by Romy Ash, Text Publishing, $27.95

“How come you left us?” asks Jordy of absent-for-a-year mum Loretta, as she collects him and little brother(narrator Tommo), unannounced, from Gran’s tidy house, where cordial comes in plastic beakers and sheets are tucked in too tight. “I never left ya. I was always coming to get you,” flashes back Loretta.

So, life on the road lurches ahead, days nicking meat pies at servos, with nights seeking out a safe place to sleep.

Played out under a scorching Australian sun at truck stops on non-descript highways, Australian author Romy Ash’s gentle touch is reminiscent of Tim Winton’s Cloud Street and John Fingleton’s Surviving Maggie.

“I know when we’ve come to a proper town ‘cos the radio works again,” frightened Tommo tell us.

Floundering, like dying fish, Jordy takes charge when they are inevitably abandoned again, and as he earns them a glass of cold coke and a handful of warm licorice from the old guy at the caravan park, Tommo observes, “He closes his eyes and it’s like a cloud passing over the sun.”

This stunningly beautiful novel with a timeless theme of never letting go falters towards the end, but is a truly impressive debut.

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