Can’t Wait Wednesday: On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings.

I should stop dreaming about 2021 releases and actually read the backlog of books I already have available to me, but alas.

This week I’m waiting on On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu (I actually have an ARC of this one to read, so I feel slightly less guilty).

Firuzeh and her brother Nour are children of fire, born in an Afghanistan fractured by war. When their parents, their Atay and Abay, decide to leave, they spin fairy tales of their destination, the mythical land and opportunities of Australia.

As the family journeys from Pakistan to Indonesia to Nauru, heading toward a hope of home, they must rely on fragile and temporary shelters, strangers both mercenary and kind, and friends who vanish as quickly as they’re found.

When they arrive in Australia, what seemed like a stable shore gives way to treacherous currents. Neighbors, classmates, and the government seek their own ends, indifferent to the family’s fate. For Firuzeh, her fantasy worlds provide some relief, but as her family and home splinter, she must surface from these imaginings and find a new way.

The treatment of refugees in Australia is a contentious – and heartbreaking – issue, and I’m really curious to see what issues Yu brings to the forefront in a fictional context. I have no doubt this book is going to be incredibly sad, but it’s a story that I think is very important to tell.

On Fragile Waves will be released on 2 February 2021 from Erewhon.

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