Amid the furious ocean there was no human sound on deck: some people standing, watching the wave, but no one capable of words. On the Java Ridge, skipper Isi Natoli and a group of Australian surf tourists are anchored beside an idyllic reef off the Indonesian island of Dana.
In the Canberra office of Cassius Calvert, Minister for Border Integrity, a Federal election looms and (not coincidentally) a hardline new policy is being announced regarding maritime assistance to asylum-seeker vessels in distress.
A few kilometres away from Dana, the Takalar is having engine trouble. Among the passengers fleeing from persecution are Roya and her mother, and Roya’s unborn sister.
The storm now closing in on the Takalar and the Java Ridge will mean catastrophe for them all.
With On the Java Ridge Jock Serong, bestselling author of The Rules of Backyard Cricket, brings us a literary novel with the pace and tension of a political thriller - and some of the most compelling, heartstopping writing about the sea since Patrick O’Brian.
About the Author
Jock Serong's debut novel Quota won the 2015 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel. In 2016, The Rules of Backyard Cricket was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award. On the Java Ridge is his third novel. Jock teaches law and writes feature articles in the surfing media and for publications such as The Guardian and Slow Living. He lives with his wife and four children in Port Fairy, Victoria.
REVIEW SNAPSHOT®by PowerReviews
Reviewed by 1 customer
Displaying review 1
Comments about On the Java Ridge:
On the Java Ridge is the third novel by Australian author, Jock Serong. In Canberra, a week out from a Federal election, the Minister for Border Integrity announces a tough new policy to deal with boats illegally entering Australian waters. In Bali, seven Australians set out on a custom-built traditional Indonesian boat to surf the waters near Raijua Island. In Sulawesi, a boat full of asylum seekers departs under cover of darkness, heading for Ashmore Reef. What occurs over the next seven days will affect many lives and have major repercussions.
The bulk of the narrative is carried by three characters: nine-year-old Roya Sayghan is a Hazara from Herat who is hoping to reach asylum in Australia with her mother and unborn sister; Isi Natoli gave up a boring office job to partner with Joel Hughes in a surf tourism business; Cassius Calvert, a former Olympic rower turned politician, is beginning to have certain misgivings about the policy he has just announced.
Perhaps not much imagination is required to figure out what will happen, but Serong gives the reader a plot with plenty of twists and red herrings. He slowly builds up the situation, drip feeding complicating factors into the story, so that, each time the reader is sure nothing can be added, another wrinkle appears, escalating the tension, intensifying the drama, until the final shocking conclusion.
It matters little whom the reader casts in their mind as the Australian Prime Minister and the Minister for Border Integrity: their dialogue, attitudes and behaviour are more than plausible. Likewise, the rest of the cast exude familiarity: the dedicated surfers; the political staffers; the neglected son; the social justice advocate; the asylum seekers: the bored surveillance operator. The city of Canberra, too, is well conveyed. Serong's prose is often exquisite, and he manages to insert some subtle black humour.
It is quite apparent that Serong has his finger firmly on the pulse of current events: this is a t
`Jock Serong creates a sense of foreboding from the very start of his third novel, and then constantly ratchets up the tension with a keen sense of pacing.' * Books + Publishing * `Taut and impressive.' * Age * `The rescue and the scenes that follow it are the real heart of the book, and they are exceptional. Serong invests the chaos and confusion of the wreck and its bloody aftermath with a visceral power that makes for confronting but exhilarating reading.' * Australian * `The best surf-related fiction I have read in a long, long time, possibly ever-Jock Serong's riveting On the Java Ridge.' * Swell Net * `You might want to clear the decks before you start Jock Serong's third thriller, because the odds are you won't be able to put it down.' * SA Weekend * `Terrifying, compelling.' * Australian Book Review * `This is the mastery of Serong's novel, understanding that fictional dystopias are at their most profound when they take the everyday and tilt it towards the darkness...it is a deeply considered novel that steers us to the logical conclusion of an entrenched system rooted equally in brutality and silence.' * Monthly * `Expertly written, vast in scope...A compelling literary political thriller and a must-read commentary on the Australian political environment and its treatment of refugees.' * Better Read Than Dead * `A compelling literary novel dissecting toxic sporting culture and its fallout.' -- Paddy O'Reilly * Australian Book Review on The Rules of Backyard Cricket * `Blow me down if I didn't hang on every word.' -- Clare Wright * Weekend Australia * `Serong's writing displays wit, insight and occasionally, splendour.' * Books & Publishing on The Rules of Backyard Cricket * `Beautifully written and acutely observed, The Rules of Backyard Cricket is a noir tour de force.' -- Sue Turnbull * Sydney Morning Herald, on The Rules of Backyard Cricket * `With this book, Serong cements his growing reputation as the thinking person's adventure writer. On the Java Ridge is such a strong piece of writing on so many levels. Andrew Bolt would hate it!' * Readings *
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 31st July 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.4 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.41