The Healing Party
Black Inc. $29.99 pb, 304 pp, 9781863958431
Compelling from start to finish, The Healing Party is a mature and illuminating account of the complex ties of family. Micheline Lee's début novel follows Natasha Chan who, after years of estrangement from her family, receives news of her mother's terminal cancer. Natasha leaves her life in Darwin and returns to the family home in Melbourne. Here, the Chans – who became born-again Charismatic Christians when Natasha was a child – speak in tongues, give prophecies, and evangelise. Paul Chan, the domineering yet charming head of the family, announces that he has received a message from God: his wife is to be healed and they must hold a party to celebrate. Terrified of disappointing her father but recognising his manipulation, Natasha swings between feelings of rage, pity, guilt, and self-doubt.