#NSW Premier’s 2019 Special Award B. Boochani
- Author: B. Boochani
- Title: No Friend But The Moutains
- Published: 2018
- Genre: non-fiction
- List of Challenges 2019
- Monthly plan
- A special award of $10,000 was made to
- Manus Island refugee Behrooz Boochani
- for his book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.
- Boochani’s book was ineligible for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
- which require authors to be Australian citizens.
- The book won the top prize at the
- Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in January 2019.
- This year was an exception made to the eligibility requirements.
- Prison literature is always a difficult read.
- For instance the Pulitzer Prize Winner History 2017
- Blood in the Water by H. Thompson (worth your reading time!)
- But it is necessary to know the disturbing truths
- ….that are not always in the news.
- Boochani’s book was not a pleasure to read.
- I persevered to force myself out of my comfort zone.
- My review is in fragments.
- I could not add any commentary to this
- confrontational book.
- According to PEN International
- “Manus Island has become notorious for its
- …ill-treatment of detainees where violence,
- sexual abuse and self-harm are reportedly common.
- No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison
- is an autobiographical account
- …of Boochani’s perilous journey
- from Indonesia to Christmas Island and thence to Manus.
- He tells of what life is like for the detained men.
The trip to Manus (ch 1-4)
Boochani enters Manus Prison (ch 5-6)
25% – 60%:
- Once a concept is mentioned
- it is repeated over and over
- …again for several paragraphs:
- stench of hairy man’s breath (ch 7)
- smell of putrid soil
- filthy toilets
- distress caused by saying ‘hi’
- bellowing of profanities
- prison becomes hive of killer bees
- prisoners become wolves…threat to everyone else
- Generator (cuts off water and electricity)
- ….manipulates minds
Queuing for food (ch 8)
- everything is micromanaged and mechanical
- meat is like pieces of car tyre
- guards like shepherds guiding a herd of sheep
- Nicknames: the Cow…first one entering dining area
- starvation has a smell…
- officers and cooks work 2 week shifts
- …then leave the island to be replaced
- answer to all the prisoners question:
- …”The Boss has given orders.”
- queue in the telephone room
Father’s Day…men struggle for the telephone (ch 9)
- …this leads to bruises and bodily harm.
- power of biceps can determine many situations
- distributing cakes….devoured right off the cardboard
- …mayhem but Boochiani does not move.
- …he knows “I am an animal that has already lost the game.”
- I am a child of war. (ch 10)
- Boochani describes the guards crushing a unruly prisoner.
- This chapter reminds me of a mind becoming unhinged.
It’s hard to discern a genuine smile… (ch 11)
- Toothache…terrible pain…worse treatment!
- Self-harm in the prison becomes a cultural practice.
- When prisonor spills his blood he appears to enter into ecstasy.
- It is a moment emitting the scent of death.
- According to Boochani every prisoner must
- …look out for the prisoner standing next to him.
- The most important thing is they must challenge the
- Kyriarchal System of the prison.
- …Kyriarchy is a system that creates webs of privilege and exclusion.
Revolt in Mike Prison…August 2014. (ch 12)
- Death of Reza…the gentle giant.
- Despite winning the prestigious
- New South Wales Special Literary Award 2019
- with a prize worth $10.000 dollars
- Boochani may not leave Manus Island
- …and his future is unknown.
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