Christian White’s debut, The Nowhere Child, is a great thriller. He writes the main character Kimberley in the first person, and captures her very well, which not all men can do. She is thirty when she is approached and told she may have been abducted when she was two-years-old, and Stuart, the man telling her this, could be her older brother. This, understandably, sends her into turmoil. To complicate matters her mother died four years before, and she has a step-father and half-sister.
She decides to leave her home in Melbourne and head to the United States where she is told she was born and spent her first two years, to try and find out if there is any truth behind Stuart’s claims. We go along for the ride and meet some of the people that she could be related to, from her point of view, and there are flashbacks told in the third person, that fill in the gaps of this family and the church they were involved in.
White tackles many themes with skill – what makes a family, cults, sibling rivalry, challenges for those in lower socio-economic brackets, attitudes towards homosexuality, and racism, all woven seamlessly in a great story. He shows great sensitivity and empathy for all of the characters, with a lack of judgement, revealing their histories slowly to demonstrate why they have done the things they have, and become the people they are. I look forward to reading more from this author.