The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham

Vince has just been released from juvie. Sonny is captivated by his razor sharp cheekbones, flowing black hair and memories of them together as children.

Sonny needs something to fantasise about – her home life is pretty grim. Her brother’s bones break easily so Sonny feels she needs to take special care of him. Her mother is easily angered and will fly into uncontrollable and unpredictable rages. Her grandmother is an alcoholic. Her father is like a ghost with so many stories within him that Sonny struggles to see who he is.

This is a stunning debut. Pham tackles intergenerational trauma – specifically reflecting on the trauma suffered by those who fled Vietnam during the war and the way in which the suffering of those folks has flowed down to and continues to impact their children. She also writes about domestic abuse, sexual assault, racism and teenage angst with a knowing pen.

Make sure you read this one.



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