One Hundred Days

    • 4.2 • 38 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

One hundred days. It’s no time at all, she tells me. But she’s not the one waiting.

In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Not on purpose, but not entirely by accident, either. Incensed, Karuna’s mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat, to keep her safe from the outside world – and make sure she can’t get into any more trouble.

Stuck inside for endless hours, Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of power in her own life, as a new life forms and grows within her. As the due date draws ever closer, the question of who will get to raise the baby – who it will call Mum – festers between them.

One Hundred Days is a fractured fairytale exploring the faultlines between love and control. At times tense and claustrophobic, it is nevertheless brimming with humour, warmth and character. It is a magnificent new work from one of Australia’s most celebrated writers.

'One Hundred Days tells a story about growing up, discovering the difference between love and control, and taking responsibility. I loved the details: they spoke of a whole world. How I admired this young, determined protagonist. The book is wonderful; I read it all in one sitting.' —Sofie Laguna

'What is astounding about One Hundred Days is that, while fearlessly honest about the damage family members can inflict on one another, it is also full of forgiveness and harmony and grace. Pung’s discernment and command as a writer is astonishing, elating. I adore this book.' —Christos Tsiolkas

'Pung’s characters are so real, I could feel them in the room. There is no word out of place, no sentence that doesn’t sing with poetry. This is truly fiction at its fiercest. One Hundred Days is a masterpiece, a triumph – Pung’s greatest work yet.' —Maxine Beneba Clarke

Fiction & Literature
1 June
Schwartz Books Pty. Ltd.
Black Inc., an imprint of Schwartz Media Pty Ltd

Customer Reviews

rhitc ,

Beautifully written

The author is Australian, born a month after her parents arrived in the country having fled Pol Pot’s Cambodia. She is now a lawyer and author with multiple award winning non-fiction and fiction titles to her credit, most of them dealing with the experience of ethically Asian girls growing up in suburban Australia, Melbourne in particular.

In brief
16-year-old schoolgirl Karuna is the product of a white Australian father and his Filipino bride, except she’s ethnically Chinese. Both parents work from home: he as a motor mechanic; she as a bridal makeup artist. Dad’s a soft touch; Mum is a tad intense. More than a tad, in fact, and the marriage breaks up. Goodbye suburban home, however modest. Hello, housing commission high rise for mother and daughter. Karuna is taken out of her Catholic school and put in a public one. Mum keeps her on a short leash. Cue teen rebelliousness, dude with Mercedes, pregnancy. Mum is not happy, and locks her wayward daughter up in the housing commission flat for much of the pregnancy and the early months postpartum (hence, the title), apart from a job helping out at the salon where Mum also works. (Mum keeps her pay). Dad turns out to be less than a paragon of virtue. Tensions mount to a climax involving an intervention by government welfare workers. Mum and daughter work things out.

First person narrative from Karuna’s POV. First person narratives by teen female protagonists are Ms P’s stock in trade. She delivers the goods yet again. It feels like YA to me, but there was more nuance than previous work I have read by this author, e.g. Laurinda (2014), plus I’m seven years older now. Everyone seems younger! The character development was excellent and the cultural contrast to the schoolgirl-with-kid trope portrayed in the Stan TV miniseries Bump was stark. The mother’s views on white people are decidedly racist, or would be if it were a white person saying those things about someone who was Asian.

Bottom line
Beautifully written with interesting cultural insights, although I have read one or two reviews that question the veracity of some of these. I wouldn’t know. I’m a Queenslander. As far as I’m concerned, all Victorians are pointy heads.

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