Author Catherine Chidgey’s latest novel, Remote Sympathy, shortlisted for the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, tackles domestic drama and human connection.
Set in and around a concentration camp in Germany during the second world war and its aftermath, it asks us to question our ability to look the other way.
Here, Chidgey gives us her top five books about doing just that.
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Faces in the Water by Janet Frame
Through Frame’s luminous prose, this exposes the nightmarish realities of life in a psychiatric hospital in mid-20th century New Zealand. Given our enduring ability to ignore the distress of our most vulnerable, it remains achingly current.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
This wonderful debut is narrated by Jai, a nine-year-old Indian boy who teams up with friends to find a classmate missing from their shanty town neighbourhood. Drawing on real events, the search illuminates the fact that hundreds of children vanish in India every month while authorities and mainstream society stand idly by.