‘No Place Like Home’ is the first novel that I’ve read by Caroline Overington. I love reading Australian authors and even a few years after its release, the topics in this novel haven’t changed much in this cruel country of ours.
The story describes an event where a young man holds a number of hostages in a store in a shopping mall in Bondi for three hours, the tragic consequences of the siege and the tragic circumstances that led to the siege. The narrator of the story is a police chaplain named Paul Doherty. Paul was in the mall during the siege and afterwards counselled many of those involved.
During the story we get to know many of the characters – most of all young hostage taker Ali Khan. How did this quiet young man who came to Australia as a refugee from Tanzania end up in this situation? Was the situation of his own making or was it the result of a life of tragedy? We meet many of the people involved in his life back to the time when he lived in a refugee camp.
We also find out about the four hostages, the bright and bubbly shop assistant, the shy nail technician, the brilliant schoolboy and the self-centred real estate agent. We also find out a lot about Paul himself – a priest who has lost his calling and can no longer face the questions people ask about meaningless tragedies.
The novel was very thought provoking causing me to question things around me that I sometimes don’t even see. And, it once again highlighted the injustices of society and many government policies.
The writing was very easy to read even though some of the issues touched in the novel were very heavy. I’ve enjoyed my introduction to Caroline Overington and hope to read more of her work in the future.
Book Published 2013