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Book DetailsISBN: 9781760529130
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Book Review: Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson - Reviewed by CloggieA (21 May 2019)
4.5?s Daughter of Bad Times is the third novel by award-winning Australian author, Rohan Wilson. It’s 2074, sea levels have risen and refugees are no longer pariah, but actively sought. Cabey-Yasuda Corrections is a global company that “employs” refugees in their manufacturing plants, one of which, situated on the Eaglehawk Peninsula in Tasmania, uses the survivors of the tsunami that submerged the Maldives. CYC’s CEO is Alessandra Braden.
One of those survivors is Yamaan Ali Umair, formerly cook/houseboy at the Braden’s Feydhoo Finolhu beach house until his employment was terminated just weeks before the tsunami. Significantly, he was also the lover of Alessandra’s twenty-six-year-old daughter, Rin. Heartbroken in her belief that Yamaan perished, Rin finally discovers his whereabouts, and is determined to bring him home. Of course, no Maldives means Yamaan has no home. And as she learns the truth about her own childhood, Rin begins to wonder whether she truly has one either.
With her authority as CYC’s Executive Vice President Government Relations, Rin believes that getting Yamaan out of Eaglehawk Migrant Training Centre will be a fairly straight-forward proposition, but it turns out to be more complicated. When she arrives at Eaglehawk MTC, she finds that Yamaan is reluctant, after the tenor of their last parting, to accompany her; further to that, the rules governing the status of these environmental refugees have changed. Alessandra is less than sympathetic, but Rin will not let this lie: she will break the law if she has to.
Wilson easily conveys a near-future world that is technologically more advanced but well within the realms of possibility. Certainly, the environmental crisis he describes requires no stretch of the imagination. As well as narratives and flashbacks from Rin and Yamaan, Wilson uses press releases, transcripts of Royal Commission proceedings and a police interview, emails, letters and media interviews to fill in the story.
His protagonists have depth and interest: Rin Braden initially comes across as spoilt and self-centred perhaps partly a product of her age, but ultimately proves single-mindedly resolute, while Yamaan is full of integrity at the cost of his own comfort and safety. Alessandra Braden has fearful reputation with her staff and, while she professes to love Rin, most of her actions belie a soft side.
Wilson’ descriptive prose is excellent and the dramatic action leading to the climax would translate particularly well to the screen. This is an enthralling and thought-provoking read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen & Unwin.
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