Eight-year-old Amanda and Rattuwat, an elderly, Thai man are walking across unfamiliar landscape after his car breaks down on the way to visit her father in jail. Gradually, it is revealed that Rattuwat’s daughter was in a relationship with Amanda’s father before he was put away. She has recently passed away and Rattuwat is trying in his own way to find a future for Amanda.
The book is told in chapters from the point of view of different characters in the story, and it keeps you guessing right until the end. It is heartbreaking – so much pain and devastation. Some is brought by their own actions and some is uncontrollable, but all is painful. For such a small book, Harmless packs an incredible punch and still brings a tear to my eye when I think on it for too long.
Julianne van Loon will be appearing at the Melbourne Writers Festival at The Morning Read on Friday August 23 at 10am at Beer DeLuxe, Asian Stories Australian Postcodes on Saturday August 24 at 10am at The Cube, ACMI, The Morning Read on Saturday August 24 at 10 at Beer DeLuxe and is hosting First Flight on Sunday August 25 at ACMI. For tickets and more information visit MWF.