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Walk in My Shoes by Alwyn Evans
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Walk in My Shoes

by Alwyn Evans

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Young adult novel about the experience of a (fictional, but based on real-life interviews) refugee girl from Afghanistan. It tracks a family's experience through people smuggling, detention camp and finally integration into the Australian community. By and large it succeeds in its aim to put a human face on refugees, but it suffers from being slightly too long and losing narrative traction in the latter half (although the romance aspect may keep younger readers motivated through that part - it lost me as being too simplistic at that point). Also, the ending has an abrupt 'twist' which isn't well resolved and results in a rather messy conclusion - it doesn't allow time for new issues raised to be explored. But overall very readable. ( )
  Kirstie_Innes-Will | Apr 18, 2014 |
An extremely powerful and moving tale of Gulnessa and her family's struggle to be allowed to stay in Australia after fleeing Afghanistan. 12+
  jsresource | Sep 25, 2008 |
This novel is the harrowing tale of an Afghani refugee, Gulnessa, and her struggle to establish a life for herself, and her family, away from persecution in her homeland. It is the result of extensive research, Evans states that it is a story ‘derived from…composite true experiences...told by a fictitious sixteen-year-old girl’ (page 348).
The novel is told retrospectively as Nessa (Gulnessa) strives to record the journey that has brought her family to a new life in Australia. Through her memories and her recurring dreams we are shown the persecution suffered by her family, and her community. In Afghanistan, as members of the Hazara minority group. Upon fleeing the country, without her father, the family and friend Abdul must overcome a hazardous trip over the border, a plane trip to Indonesia and then a nightmare-like experience on a small fishing boat before finally landing in Australia. The family’s life savings, and that of their grandparents, pays for this horrendous journey that eventually ends in a detention centre in outback Australia. Their life, once in detention, is one of waiting until they are granted temporary visas.
Throughout this trauma the task of holding the family together falls to Nessa as detention causes a depression to descend upon her mother Fatimeh and the family are continually plagued with bad memories and a desperate concern for their future. Nessa’s life is hard, but hope is kept alive through her own personal strength and her growing, reciprocated feelings for Abdul.
This is both a personal story of survival in adversity and a political statement on the Australian governments detainment of refugees, as well as a cry for compassion.
  slamarca | May 15, 2008 |
This book was so realistic that I could not believe that this was a fictional character. Gulnessa is a teenage girl from Afghanistan who has left with her family (minus her father, you'll find out why) and she tells about her hardships from being smuggled out from 'the terror' (the taliban), the detainee camp and when she finally gets her TPV to stay in Australia. Alwyn Evans has done such a good job of telling this story and shows what refugees really have to go through to get into Australia as a free person. A good read if you enjoy biographies or factions (fiction based on facts).
  honor_the_book | Dec 6, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143002317, Paperback)

We walked off the ferry along the wide, sloping gangplank, and when my feet hit the firm wooden planks of the jetty, I staggered, legs suddenly feeling like jelly. I took Mum's hand, whispering, 'Are we really safe here?' After a perilous and terrifying journey from war-torn Afghanistan, Gulnessa and her family find themselves in Australia, a place they know nothing about. They are exhausted and traumatised, but so full of hope. At last-somewhere safe to call home. But they soon discover that their struggle isn't over yet. They are imprisoned in a detention centre for illegal immigrants, and forced to prove their refugee status. As the days drag into weeks and months, Gulnessa is determined to stay strong. She must keep her family together, and fight for Abdul, her special friend from home, with whom she has secretly fallen in love. She can never give up hope, of a temporary protection visa, and a chance to build a future in a beautiful foreign land.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:46 -0400)

After a perilous and terrifying escape from war-torn Afghanistan, Gulnessa and her family find themselves in Australia, a place they know nothing about. They are exhausted and traumatised, but so full of hope. But their struggle isn't over yet. They are confined in a detention centre for asylum seekers, and forced to prove their refugee status.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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