Harmless is the latest novella from Australian author Julienne van Loon, who was at the Sydney Writers’ festival to chat about novellas as a literary form. It’s a very layered, intricate book full of mysterious characters who embody the contradictions and complexities of modern suburban Australia, but it was actually inspired by a collection of ancient Buddhist stories called the Jataka.
The book follows eight year-old Amanda and elderly Thai man Rattuwat as they try to make their way to a prison to visit Amanda’s father.
I had a chat with Julienne about Harmless.
Julienne actually lives where her book is set – the outskirts of Perth. I started off by asking, “What was it about this landscape and the social milieu that inspired you?”
This was first broadcast on 2SER’s Final Draft on June 1.