the exiles by christina baker kline, 384 pp
Indecisive. While I can’t quite put my finger on it, Baker Kline’s newest HF, The Exiles, fell just short of a full 5-star rating for me. Perhaps it was the anger I felt reading about the outcome of an aboriginal girl of Australia, although knowing the character was based on the life of a real person means Kline accomplished writing a compelling story. Or, it was a minor inconsistency in a historical timeline related to Lady Jane Franklin and her husband’s Artic explorations (see below) that threw me off. It was educational, however, to learn more about the penal colonies of Australia. Kline’s descriptions of women’s imprisonment in England, on board the transport ships and at their eventual arrival in Van Diemen’s Land excels to place the reader amidst the filth, reeking odors, dank walls and churning roil of a ship at sea.
That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.Jhumpa Lahiri
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