The Choke

I never had words to ask anybody the questions, so I never had the answers.

Abandoned by her mother and only occasionally visited by her secretive father, Justine is raised by her pop, a man tormented by visions of the Burma Railway. Justine finds sanctuary in Pop's chooks and The Choke, where the banks of the Murray River are so narrow it seems they might touch - a place of staggering natural beauty. But the river can't protect Justine from danger. Her father is a criminal, and the world he exposes her to can be lethal.

Justine is overlooked and underestimated, a shy and often silent observer of her chaotic world. She learns that she has to make sense of it on her own. She has to find ways to survive so much neglect. She must hang on to friendship when it comes, she must hide when she has to, and ultimately she must fight back.

Praise for ‘The Choke’

‘Laguna has beautifully captured the bewilderment of childhood and the emergence of adulthood in her character of Justine. It is so unquestionably heartbreaking… This is an extraordinary read.’
–  Readings

‘…the stone Laguna lets fly ricochets inside you for days afterwards.’
–  The Age

‘In her sagacious way, Laguna manages to show both how an upbringing inescapably defines a person and the ways in which a person can rise phoenix-like from their past to create a life of their own reckoning.’
–  Louise Swinn, The Australian

‘…a book that is both gritty and utterly exquisite. The Choke is another extraordinary novel from a writer who is never afraid to go deep into the darkest recesses of human depravity and find something beautiful.’
– Compulsive Reader



The Eye of the Sheep

Meet Jimmy Flick. He’s not like other kids – he’s both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy’s mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She holds him tight enough to stop his cells spinning. It is only Paula who can keep Jimmy out of his father’s way. But when Jimmy’s world falls apart, he has to navigate the unfathomable world on his own, and make things right.

2015 Miles Franklin Award Winner

Praise for The Eye of the Sheep

‘The power of this finely crafted novel lies in its raw, high-energy, coruscating language which is the world of young Jimmy Flick, who sees everything…The Eye of the Sheep is an extraordinary novel about love and anger, and how sometimes there is little between them.’
– Miles Franklin Literary Award 2015, judges’ report

‘Sofie Laguna has perfected the voice of a child. The Eye of the Sheep is a dark tale told with perfection.’
–  Culture Street

‘truthful and beautiful.’
–  Newcastle Herald

‘Jimmy is a tour de force of a character, brilliantly maintained…Laguna’s great skill is in conveying contradictory human depths.’
– Adelaide Advertiser

‘By getting inside Jimmy’s mind and showing what an amazing place it is, this book goes a long way towards explaining what a library of textbooks could not.’
– Sydney Morning Herald

One Foot Wrong

A child is imprisoned in a house by her reclusive religious parents. Hester has never seen the outside world; her companions are Cat, Spoon, Door, Handle, Broom, and they all speak to her. Her imagination is informed by one book, an illustrated child's bible, and its imagery forms the sole basis for her capacity to make poetic connection.

One day Hester takes a brave Alice in Wonderland trip into the forbidden outside (at the behest of Handle - 'turn me turn me'), and this overwhelming encounter with light and sky and sunshine is a marvel to her. From this moment on, Hester learns the concept of the secret, and not telling, and the world becomes something that fills her with feeling as if she is a vessel, empty and bottomless for need of it.

The story told by Hester in One Foot Wrong is often dark and terrible, but the sheer blazing brilliance of her language and the imagery that illuminates the pages make this novel an exhilarating, enlightening and joyous act of faith. The stars shine brightest out of the deepest dark.

A novel for adults published by Allen and Unwin

Long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award 2009
Short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award 2009

Praise for One Foot Wrong

‘An authentic voice, an evocation of childhood and memory that, for all its terrors, evokes the sublime, tragic moment when innocence submits to experience. Laguna creates a world and a character and a language that we become immersed within. That she does it with a subject matter of such destructive cruelty, that she does it with such rigor and power, is a testament to her craft, skill, and maturity.’
- Christos Tsolkias, author of The Slap

‘Unique and utterly hypnotic’
- Emily Maguire, author of Taming the Beast

‘The language is pitch-perfect – it is the light in this dark tale…An engrossing exploration of the different ways people can find peace, the different ways humans respond to their environments, the small and large abuses that are constantly overlooked or allowed, and where that line lies.’
- Louise Swinn, The Age

‘Enriched with creative flair and a unique voice’
- Waterstone’s Books Quaterly

‘One Foot Wrong will at times take your breath away…the darkest yet most poignant Alice in Wonderland imaginable.’
- Media-Culture

‘…bold writing, where everything is new again: Hester’s adult word seen always through the endearing eyes of a child.’
- The Australian

‘One Foot Wrong is an extraordinary achievement. Hester’s voice is orginal and compelling’
- The Big Issue