Cargo by Jessica Au – Review


Jessica Au’s Cargo is a delightful read! It is a wonderful snapshot of Australian life, and in spite of all the teenage angst and parental dysfunction, it reassures us that, in Jessica Au’s Australia anyway, we’ll be alright in the long run.

In spite of teenagers ‘with all the troubles in the world’ including sibling rivalry, divorcing parents, disabilities, bad sex, good surf and bad hair days, it is never too dark or disturbing.

Cargo is Tim Winton with a shipload of youthful hope for the future.

This is adult fiction, but I think young adults could read and enjoy this too (the sex scenes and near-sex scenes are perfect). Unless I missed it, I don’t know where the title came from, so I assume it refers to the ‘cargo’ or weight of the world on the characters’ shoulders?

The characters are wonderful! Not only are the kids interesting, but the grownups are fascinating! I want a sequel to this, please Jessica Au. I have to know what happens in the next phase of their lives.

In fact, I want a movie. Move over Puberty Blues. I want Anthony La Paglia to be the father (ooh, the scene where he says, “Where did you think I was? Where did you think that I would be?” would be so powerful), and we’d have to have a surfy dude or three like Wally Lewis’ son, and a big name to play the man who is seduced by the teen girl… yes, David Wenham! There’s already a movie called Cargo, though, so it would have to be called Shipload or Cargo Beach or something.

By Jenny Mann


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