Monday, 25 November 2013

New Guinea Moon

'New Guinea Moon' is the latest novel by Australian author, Kate Constable.
Kate grew up in Papua New Guinea and the observations she makes in this novel give the reader a brilliant insight into a country on the brink of independence, in 1975.
From the opening pages where teenage Julie arrives in Port Moresby to stay with the father she has never really known, the reader is immersed in a different world - a strange environment, intense humidity and a world where 'expats' (expatriates) band together and form a tightly knit group.
This largely white expat group consists of business people, those who wish to bring religion to the country, and those seeking to improve the lives of the indigenous people through health and education.
The often complex dillemmas that arise are conveyed to the reader. For instance, Julie asks her missionary neighbour if imposing Christianity on New Guinean people is leading to the annihilation of their culture. Her neighbour responds by saying that before they arrived tribal fighting, cannibalism and wife-beating were commonplace events.
There are two young men in Julie's life - she and Ryan drift into a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship though she is intrigued by another young man called Simon who is classed as 'mixed race' and whose father owns a coffee plantation.
Initially Julie allows herself to be led to some extent, though she then begins to make her own decisions and form her own opinions.
There is a tragedy in this story and there is also a mystery, which brings Julie's growing decision making to the fore.
I thoroughly enjoyed 'New Guinea Moon' and recommend this novel to teen readers.

-Ann

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