This debut novel from Romy Ash packs a powerful punch, that winds you and leaves you gasping for air and water. Floundering tells the story of two brothers, Tom and Jordy, who are reclaimed from their grandmother by their highly dysfunctional and estranged mother and taken on a road trip across Australia. All semblance of normality and stability is shattered as these young boys are immersed in their mother’s world. Their new lives are centered in a remote caravan park on the west coast. The caravan park is inhabited by a handful of marginalized people including the sinister Nev.
Dialogue driven, this narrative is told from the perspective of the very tender Tom, youngest of the two boys. A soul that one wants to love and protect, as he narrates the slow disintegration of the fabric of his world.
Deeply disturbing because it all too possible and is the experience of life that some marginalised folk have this book is a must read. I could not read it in one sitting it was too deeply disturbing. I did finish it after an Avid Reader Salon Event, where Romy Ash was interviewed for Radio National, in which she commented that she did not want any really bad characters in the novel and did not want readers to hate her characters. Knowing the author’s intention enabled me to read it through a softer lens.
This book will challenge you and punch you in the guts.