Felicity Plunkett reviews 'No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison' by Behrouz Boochani

Behrouz Boochani describes being smashed into the sea by the boulder-like weight of an overpacked, splintering boat transporting asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australia. The wreck’s ‘slashed carcass’ gashes the flailing survivors and the bodies of those who have died, and Boochani settles under a wave, finding refuge ‘by imagining myself elsewhere’. Finding the strength to surface, he sees a group of men clinging to a wooden spar torn from the battered boat. Its spikes lacerate Boochani’s legs as he sinks and surfaces amid violent waves. A British boat approaches: ‘our gruelling odyssey has come to an end’. Having faced death in those underwater moments, Boochani reflects that ‘even a brush with mortality gives life a marvellous sense of meaning’.

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Comments (1)

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    Great review of 'No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison' ... to contextualise Boochani's project along with 'accounts of the Shoah, such as Primo Levi’s 'If This Is a Man '(1947)', indicates the gravity of the situation on Manus (and the whole off shore detention policy of the Australian Government.) We are all implicated. To bring the Government and Opposition to account to close the camps and release those imprisoned is urgent and long overdue.
    Tuesday, 28 August 2018 10:40 posted byJeni Thornley

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