This is not a badly written book. I just hated it. I don’t do unrelenting bleakness very well. There is an important message in here about the moral pitfalls of nationalism and anti-immigration policies, and it’s impossible to miss as it’s delivered via industrial power hammer. It’s a message I happen to agree with, but damn.
If you’re looking for a sad yet ultimately hopeful, redemptive story about a refugee crisis, keep looking. If you’re looking for a 300+ page heavy-handed treatise on how politicians are the worst, human traffickers are the worst, entitled white surfer guys are the worst, and mercenary contractors are the worst, this is absolutely the book for you.
As for me? Well. On the Java Ridge is one of those books that make me think the Australian literary landscape would change drastically if bars started lacing drinks with Xanax during convention season.