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Written by Julienne van Loon


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Full of suspense, Harmless is the tightly woven story of eight year old Amanda, whose father is in prison, and Rattuwat, a Thai man burying his daughter in a strange land.

Abandoning their broken-down car on the way to the prison’s visiting hour, Amanda and Rattuwat venture into the trackless scrub of Australia’s outer suburbs. As the day heats up, the sense of menace intensifies and each of them enters the no-man’s-land between safety and peril.

’… the whole canvas of Australian life – its ethnic diversity, its violence, its growing divisions of class and economic status, its convoluted history of linkage with South East Asia – is made vivid in this remarkable novella.’ Janette Turner Hospital

‘… this absorbing tale about a resilient child living on the margins contains evocative writing and raw emotional insights. Verdict: poignant.’ Herald Sun

‘With the publication of Harmless, Fremantle Press is continuing to bring the work of enormously talented West Australians to the fore.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘Each revelation builds on the last, constantly changing your perception of the protagonists right to the end. A fast, immensely satisfying read.’ Scoop Magazine

‘I found this a unique and powerful narrative which had me invested very early on.’ Colosoul

‘Van Loon’s prose is taut and compelling, and shows the author in full command of her powers.’ ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

‘Who will enjoy this novella? Anyone who relishes subtle and emotionally powerful prose …’ Devoted Eclectic

‘It is remarkable that so much thematic weight is compacted in so slight a volume.’ Kill Your Darlings

ISBN 9781922089045 (Paperback)
Formats B+ Format (208 x 140mm) (Paperback)
Categories New Adult
Book Club Reads
Pages 140
Publication Year 2013
Edition 1st
Publisher Fremantle Press
  • Julienne van loon

    Julienne van Loon

    Julienne teaches writing at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Her shorter works have appeared in The Monthly and Griffith Review. Read more