“I never had words to ask anybody the questions, so I never had the answers,” says Justine Lee the child narrator of The Choke, a brilliant, haunting novel about a child navigating an often dark and uncaring world of male power and violence, in which grown-ups can’t be trusted and comfort can only be found in nature.
Abandoned by her mother and only occasionally visited by her secretive father, Justine is raised by her Pop, a 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 it seems they might touch – a place of staggering natural beauty.
But the river can’t protect Justine from danger. her father is a criminal, and the world he exposes her to can be lethal.
The Choke is a compassionate and claustrophobic vision of a child in danger and a society in trouble and celebrates above all the indomitable nature of the human spirit.