Borderland is an interesting novel, which looks at belonging, environmental issues, and Aboriginal dreaming stories while at the same time combining teenage anxiety with aspects of a horror story (without being too scary).
The novel revolves around a young Aboriginal man Jonathan Lane (Jono) who is searching for what he does not know but he feels a restlessness in his life as he searches to find his place in the world.
He graduates from a private school with his best friend, Jenny, and both find themselves attending the Aboriginal Performing Arts Centre, Jenny as a dancer and Jono as an actor. It is here that things begin to become interesting. Jono begins experiencing some out of body experiences for which he can find no explanation. As well as this, he and Jenny get selected to be part of a documentary about a mining company that will develop its claim on Aboriginal land. The aim of the doco is to explain to the local Indigenous peoples about the advantages this development will bring to the community.
For the first time Jono finds himself on land and, while there, strange things begin to happen to him. As the story progresses, Jono finds that maybe there is more to him than he realises. As well as this the mining company may not be as environmentally and culturally aware as they make out. What takes place changes Jono, challenges who he is both emotionally and physically, resulting for the first time in a sense of belonging and purpose in his life.
Reviewed by Anthony Llewellyn-Evans
Age Guide 13+
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Graham Akhurst is a Kokomini writer who grew up in Meanjin. He is a Lecturer of Australian Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing at UTS. Graham began his writing journey in a hospital bed in 2011.
He read and started journaling between treatments for Endemic Burkett Lymphoma. As a Fulbright Scholar, Graham took his love for writing to New York City, where he studied for an MFA in Fiction at Hunter College.
He is a board member for the First Nations Artists and Writers Network and Varuna. He lives with his wife on Gadigal Country in Sydney and enjoys walking Centennial Park with a good audiobook.
Visit Graham Akhurst’s website