Book Review – Harmless


Title: Harmless

Author: Julienne van Loon

Genre: Adult Fiction

Length: 137

Rating: 4 Star


Full of suspense, Harmless, is the tightly woven story of eight year old Amanda, whose father is in prison, and Rattuwat, a Thai man burying his daughter in a strange land.
Abandoning their broken-down car on the way to the prison’s visiting hour, Amanda and Rattuwat venture into the trackless scrub of Australia’s outer suburbs. As the day heats up, the sense of menace intensifies and each of them enters the no-man’s-land between safety and peril.


This was a very simple but very appealing read.

I would not by any means call this book ‘full of suspense,’ and found this very line very misleading. Because of that line I was expecting a very action packed story, or one that would have my mind constantly searching for answers. Instead what I got was very mellow and rather easy to follow story that spans the length of one day, shifting between three family members, dipping into back story continuously. So much so that the back stories make up most of the novella. I didn’t mind at all by the end though that my expectations where not met.

The story jumped around a rather big plot point that was made obvious but not clearly stated for the entire story, but you are fading in and out so much you hardly have time to care. I would describe the changes like slow moving waves coming in and out. Rather pleasant.

The characters are well developed and you feel for them and the things that they have gone through, for the things that still have to go through. All of their lives are twisted by some grim form,  but you see them from a comfortable distance.

I pretty much felt like I was floating in the ocean on my back watching the sky, content, no matter where the story ends up I’m going to be content with where it ends, and I was. It didn’t really end, but it ended enough. I wouldn’t mind picking up another novella for an update on their lives.

Really the only ‘negative’ feeling I had was when I found one of the pages to the book was damaged before it came to me. Poor hurt book.


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