Sodden Downstream – Brannavan Gnanalingam


A refugee walks through a Wellington storm to get to work but must rely on the kindness of strangers to get there.

➽ “A journey or expedition is a staple in fictional themes, however here this is turned on its head with the protagonist’s trek being through a storm in order to get to her cleaning job. Without it she cannot feed her family, it’s as simple as that, yet her story is told with the same power as some of the more well known odyssean stories.

“The completeness of the NZ themes are what sets this book apart. The Kiwi colloquialisms are raw and true, albeit a bit cringeworthy and the author paints a detailed picture of his interpretation of our current social climate, especially for immigrant refugees.

“I did think all of this was beautifully and fully done, but did find it a bit preachy. But it certainly details a moment in history that will be referred back to in time, I’m sure, and deserves its place on the Ockham’s shortlist.” – Rachel

➽ “I read this book a while ago now and I still think about it every day. Sita attempting to reach central Wellington has to be one of literature’s great journeys, right up there with The Hobbit, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn etc.

“For every character in this book I thought ‘I know someone just like that’. The author somehow did this in a way that didn’t feel forced or overstated and I think Gnanalingam Brannavan has captured a slice of New Zealand that is recognisable for its lovely qualities as well as its horribleness.
“As well as being highly entertained this book also made me deeply uncomfortable, and the sense of desperation I felt when I finished it has lingered.” – Suzy

Published 2017
Lawrence & Gibson
178 pages

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