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The Infernal Optimist

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  31 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Capturing the voice of an Australia you haven't heard in fiction before ... Meet Zeke togan, a small-time crim in big-time trouble. A quintessential Australian larrikin - whose biggest problem is that he isn't actually Australian. 19 year old Zeke was born in the Old Country but has been in Australia since he was six months old and considers himself as Aussie Aussie Aussie ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 26th 2006 by HarperCollins - AU
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Oct 13, 2015 Cate rated it really liked it
This was the book that sparked my initial interest in the plight of asylum seekers in Australia. The author had researched life in detention centres, making the stories (potentially real) realistic and sad.

The main character's plight is light-hearted while looking at a very serious and sad reality.

Well worth the read.
Alex West
Dec 07, 2013 Alex West rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, australia
Fantastic concept, beautiful characterisation, painfully heavy patois.

This is a very Australian black comedy set in the unlikely comedy location of the Villawood Detention Centre - like Orange Is The New Black by way of The Castle.

The novel is narrated by an Aussie bogan crim, Zeki, who speaks in constant malapropisms reminiscent of Dale Kerrigan. When we meet him, fresh from 13 months in prison for petty theft, he's trying to convince his girlfriend that's the last time she'll have to deal with
Oct 25, 2011 Hema rated it it was amazing
One of my new favourites! The main character, Zeki, is endearing as your typical Aussie larrikin. Written from his perspective, it gives a comical account of his time spent in a detention centre but also a heart-aching insight to the pain, suffering, anguish and loss of dignity of the inhabitants. the detention centre.

In the current political climate, this book is enormously relevant. A highly recommended read!
Mar 28, 2015 Kelv rated it really liked it
On the poignant side but a different and well done story. To be consistent with colloquial language and first person perspective was well done. I got a bit lost with some of the detention characters (whom was from where) but it didn't hamper the story.

I thought the ending was clever, so too the improvement in speech i.e. less colloquial.
Feb 26, 2015 Aphie rated it did not like it
Disappointing. Kind of.. trite, overly simplistic and the ending was kind of sad and felt like a let-down.
Plus, preaching to the political choir.
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Mar 13, 2011 Bliss rated it really liked it
A funny look at a sad institution.
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Linda Jaivin is the author of eleven books, including the new novel The Empress Lover, published in April 2014 and the travel companion Beijing, published in July 2014. Other major publications include the Quarterly Essay: Found in Translation (late 2013), five novels and a novella, a collection of essays (Confessions of an S&M Virgin) and a China memoir (Monkey and the Dragon). Her first nove ...more
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