Yasmin Hamid, Swimming on the Lawn, Fremantle Press, 31 July 2017, 176pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781925164855
Farida is the daughter of an English mother and a Sudanese father. She and her siblings live a happy and relatively affluent life in Khartoum during the 1960s, until a military coup changes their lives forever.
Each chapter describes a happy event. They have a picnic, they watch a man newly cover their mattresses, the house is painted, they experience a sandstorm, the mother of a friend, Nadia, has a baby.
The author has the same parentage as the small heroine of the novel, and now lives in Western Australia. Her book is written with simplicity and would be a way to encourage readers to empathise with their Sudanese friends. Anywhere in the world what happens to Farida’s family is a part of life. A happy child is loved and cared for, as these children are. What happens next is not predictable.
Reviewed by Stella Lees