Photo: Karl Schwerdtfeger

 

Romy Ash

Floundering

Judges' notes:

This increasingly sinister road-trip of a novel is narrated by eleven-year-old Tom. Along with fractious brother Jordy, Tom is repossessed without warning by their wayward mother and driven away from their settled life in the care of grandparents. Their helter-skelter flight takes the trio as far west as they can travel, to an isolated beachside caravan park and a Christmas that is memorable for all the wrong reasons. 

Neglected and abandoned, the brothers must fight against an adult tide dragging them further and further out of their depth.

A debut novel of extraordinary power, Floundering grabs the reader and doesn’t let go for a second. The pitch-perfect narrative spins a spare, even mundane tale of childhood dread punctuated by weirdness, evil and exquisite humour.