by Shankari Chandran
Also author of ‘Song of the Sun God’
From the author’s website:
The Barrier is a fast-paced literary thriller, set in a world destroyed by a virulent strain of Ebola and religious wars. It is 2040 and the surviving nations have been reorganized into the Western and Eastern Alliance. One side subjugates the other, using a vaccine, a virus and religion as its means of control.
Virologist, Dr Noah Williams has been sent by the Department for Biological Integrity in the West, to investigate a rogue scientist in the East. Is the scientist undermining the global vaccination programme? Is he planning another disastrous Ebola epidemic?
Noah finds his scientific, interrogation and diplomacy skills are tested in this complex post-conflict landscape where Western hegemony masquerades as political stability – and religious fundamentalism distracts us from far more insidious forces at play.
Recovering from the death of his young daughter and the breakdown of his marriage, Noah agrees to one last mission for the Western Alliance. It will take him from Chennai to Washington DC to London to Colombo – but also on an inner journey that challenges his faith in the deities of our time: God, country and corporations.
The Barrier explores how the history of our species is the history of war and contagion. It asks: what would happen if both attacked us at the same time? What kind of future would we be left with?
The Barrier was published by Pan Macmillan Australia in June 2017 and was chosen by iBooks as one of its Books of the Month for June 2017.
From the publisher:
- ISBN: 9781925481174
- Format: Trade Paperback
- Pub Date: 30/05/2017
- Category: Fiction & related items / Thriller / suspense
Fiction & related items / Science fiction
Fiction & related items / Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- Imprint: Macmillan Australia
- Pages: 320
- Price: $29.99
WHEN Shankari Chandran was writing her latest political thriller, she had no idea some of the concepts would reflect the world today.
The Roseville author started writing The Barrier in 2014, finishing the rough draft in October 2015.
The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia in 2040, after an ebola pandemic and wars have destroyed the world.
“I looked at what would happen if nature or disease and religious wars converged to destroy the world,” Chandran said.
“It was the west divided from the east by a wall seemingly for the protection of both sides, where movement of people is banned and religions are treated with fear, terror and vilification.
“When I finished it, I looked at the book and the world and thought ‘we’re almost there’. It’s timely and topical, without meaning to reflect the world today.”
The mother of four said she needed to balance writing around raising a family.
“I spend as much time between 9.15am and 2.40pm writing,” she said.
“I love to write, it’s exhilarating, energising and meditative for me. I make myself down tools at 2.30 and give myself 10 minutes to pull myself out of the fictional world where truly terrible things are happening and my characters are participating in and effected by and I’m a witness to their lives.
“I have to walk Benji to school to pick up three of my four beautiful children at Lindfield Public.”
Chandran, who also wrote Song of the Sun God, draws on her work as a social justice lawyer to anchor her stories in reality.
“The work I did over those 10 years, the cases I was involved in, that life really informs the things I write about,” she said.
“That’s present in both my books, the failures of justice and human rights in parts of the world.
“I do have to try hard to turn off that sadness and not let it colour the rest of my day.”
The Barrier is Shankari Chandran’s debut novel in Australia, published by Pan Macmillan Australia.
from Good Reads:
Paul Beatty’s The Sellout
Clemetine Ford’s Fight Like A Girl
Ian McGuire’s The North Water
Omar El Akkad’s American War
Hisham Matar’s The Return