RATFACE by Garry Disher


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Max and Christina live with their white supremacist adoptive parents, ""Moaner"" and ""Slacker,"" in rural Australia in a compound enclosed by an electric fence. There they farm, do chores, and are indoctrinated in the ideology of the White League. Max has been with the League for as long as he can remember, but Christina can recall life on the outside. She doesn't believe she is truly an orphan and longs to return to her real mother. When their frightening""Uncle"" Ratface brings a new member to their family -- a little boy named Stefan who was clearly kidnapped -- Christina finally convinces Max to escape with her to restore Stefan to his rightful home. The three children flee the compound, and so begins their harrowing journey in search of their real families. Broke, with White Leaguers looming at every turn and Ratface in hot pursuit, the children must rely on their wits and some unlikely aid if they are ever to reach their homes. Disher (The Bamboo Flute, 1993) masterfully builds suspense, and his conclusion is satisfying but not pat. This is a fast and exciting book that also raises some serious questions, although it provides no answers. The White League is more an excuse for the story than an issue in it, but it happens to be a very good story. A thrilling, chilling ride.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Ticknor & Fields