I read Jock Serong’s second book, The Rules of Backyard Cricket, after a fellow non-cricket lover recommended it. I enjoyed it as well, which surprised me. Cricket was merely the vehicle for a fascinating read on sibling rivalry, the role of sport and the media, and the politics of these in our society.
Based on this I thought On the Java Ridge would be even more up my alley, dealing with boat people and politics at the highest level. It may have been the state I was in when I started the book, and not being able to read a lot, but I found the three threads of the asylum seekers on the Takalar, the tourists on a surfing trip on the Java Ridge and Cassius Calvert, the Minister for Border Integrity, difficult to keep up with, with all of the different characters involved.
When the three stories became two, about half way through the book, and the plot intensified I was more engaged. I realise the start was necessary to set the scene. Having said this, it was well worth it, and it has stayed with me, long after finishing it. I recommend reading it when you can give it some time from the beginning.
This devastating issue has been handled with great sensitivity and impact at the same time, looking at it from many different perspectives.