the-choke

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