Shortly after 9.30 in the morning, a young man walks into Surf City, Bondi’s newest shopping complex. He’s wearing a dark grey hoodie – and a bomb around his neck. Just a few minutes later he is locked in a shop on the upper floor. And trapped with him are four innocent bystanders.
For police chaplain Paul Doherty, called to the scene by Superintendent Boehm, it’s a story that will end as tragically as it began. For this is clearly no ordinary siege. The boy, known as Ali Khan, seems as frightened as his hostages and has yet to utter a single word.
This thought-provoking and heart-rending story reaches from the heart of Bondi to a small village in Tanzania.
There was a unanimous agreement this month that Overington’s No Place like Home was a great read that highlights the real probability of individuals falling through the cracks of our immigration system. Ali Khan’s plight struck an emotional chord with us. His need for support and understanding was incompetently handled from the beginning which led not only to his demise but to that of another innocent.
Could something like this actually happen in our somewhat arguably over documented and red-taped system? Overington did a good job of making it seem so. Her imaginative yet uncontrived plot seemed plausible throughout, and the main characters circumstances believable enough to warrant both hostility and empathy by our group.
It was commented that the straight forward writing style worked well for this story, and we all found it interesting that Overington seems to take on a male narration for most of her novels, this one included.
We continued to have a good discussion on the refugee situation and also that of fostering. A few of us had experience in this area and were concerned about the effect unsuitable fostering could have on children and, in Ali’s circumstances, those from another culture.
We were all moved by the unforeseen conclusion, and the simple matter of connecting with those who are different. Had Ali been managed correctly, the unhappy series of events that followed could well of been avoided. This we are sure is Overington’s message … One that rang loud and clear with us.