This is not the first book I read from Christos Tsiolkas. I think I’m in love with this author’s style, I alway find it so difficult to say goodbye to his characters.
Once again this story takes place in Melbourne. Its main character is a boy called Danny Kelly whose only dream in his life is to win the Olympic gold in swimming.
The novel tells about parenthood, bad and good choices we make in raising our children, the differences in social classes; it gives the reader an idea of modern Australia, the emphasis on sports, politics, education, migration.
Danny Kelly is a great swimmer and he dreams of travelling and experiencing the world.
The golden boys and the golden girls had no interest in experiencing the world. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi? Fuck off. He wanted more.
Tsiolkas makes one of his character say something about Australia that not everybody is going to like but which I find pretty much true:
You all think you are so egalitarian, but you’re the most status-seeking people I’ve met. You call yourselves laid-back but you’re angry and resentful all the time. You say there is no class system here, but you’re terrified of the poor, and you say you’re anti-authoritarian but all there is here are rules, from the moment I fucken landed here, rules about doing this and not doing that, don’t climb there, don’t go here, don’t smoke and don’t drink and drive and don’t go over the speed limit and don’t do anything fucken human. You’re all so scared of dying you can’t let yourselves live – fuck that: we’re human, we die, that’s part of life. That’s just life.
The same character a bit later says:
I want to see home. I want to be somewhere where people aren’t perpetually banging on about mortgages rates and refugees and blackfellas and how fucking great this country is, how lucky I am to be here in the luckiest country on earth. I don’t want to be told how lucky I am, I want to feel lucky. I just want to be home.
Sometimes I feel like I agree 100% with this character, I guess today is one of those days. I want to feel lucky!