Year of the Orphan
Bantam, $32.99 pb, 282 pp, 9780143782070
Daniel Findlay’s début novel, Year of the Orphan, contains all the elements apparently necessary for a successful contemporary dystopian novel. It is also a complex, challenging read, which creates a believable and alarming post-apocalyptic future in the Australian outback five hundred years in the future.
The key character and main narrator is a young female in peril (so favoured in recent dystopian fiction) known as ‘the Orphan’. Sold into slavery at an early age, she has grown up in a barbaric desert settlement known as ‘the System’. She survives by scavenging in the rapidly disappearing remains of the old world – destroyed by some nameless apocalyptic occurrence – in the process confronting numerous predators, human and animal, creatures that may be ghosts, and a wandering stranger called the Reckoner.