On the Java Ridge by Jock Serong

1. First lines. 2. Published 2017 Text Publishing 3. Boat-water [Public Domain] via Pixabay 4. Flags [No known copyright] Source: Green Left
This political thriller brings to life the issue of asylum-seekers.

The Java Ridge is an Australian charter boat for surfers and is anchored at a small Indonesian island called Dana. Nearby, the Takalar, a boat carrying refugees is in difficulties, and is wrecked on the reef as it tries to enter the bay at Dana. This is happening at the same time that an Australian election is about to take place, one of the major issues being asylum seekers coming to Australia illegally by boat.

“The Java Ridge cut lonely miles into the night, fast enough for those trapped in the bunkroom to know that it was labouring hard.”

“From high above the island, the surveillance image had been cropped down to show the lagoon, the reef and the hill behind the beach. The colours were beautiful, the leaching of one brilliant primary hue into another: deep water to shallow, coral to sand, beach to palms to rocks. In the middle of the bay a boat lay at anchor, the dark chain visible in the sunlight.”


“You have a border. Desperate people on one side of it who do not consider themselves amenable to the rule of law. On the other side, the rule of law. So enforce the law. And if the law is inadequate to cope with the situation? Change it.”

~Quotes from “On the Java Ridge” by Jock Serong
  • Sydney Morning Herald: “… how it all gets resolved in the third act is nicely done and I enjoyed jumping between the very different points of view that Serong uses to tell his taut and impressive third novel.”
  • Publishers Weekly: “Serong does a masterly job building tension. Readers will have a tough time putting this one down.”
  • Better Reading: “Each character is treated with sensitivity and empathy, a reminder of the power of storytelling to evoke far more than reality. Serong’s romanticist attraction to landscape, which is powerful enough to creep up on the unsuspecting reader and surprise with its keen-eyed observations of beauty, rivals characterisation as his greatest writerly quality. On the Java Ridge is a political thriller with a twist of romanticism, a modern telling of voyages at sea that ring true and exhilarate all at once. Serong is another rising Aussie star we’ll be watching very closely.”

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