Cher Chidzey’s novel, Kens Quest, takes the reader on a journey with Ken, a Chinese immigrant who travels to Australia to start a new life. The novel explores the challenges and trials that come with migration through Ken’s struggle to obtain permanent residency due to his status as an ‘illegal’ immigrant.
The novel explores the ways people from different cultures and backgrounds come together to form the most unlikely friendships. While working hard in Australia, Ken meets Red, a somewhat typical ‘white’ Australian who represents the deep embedded racism that exists in Australia, but with whom an unlikely friendship blossoms.
Ken’s Quest shows us that despite cultural and generational differences, friendship and love are possible. I felt that this was the overall message of the book – that when you put aside your assumptions and opinions about a culture or ethnic group your world will open up.
This book really brought to the surface how real and present racism is in white Australia which is what made the novel hard to read at times. Ultimately though, the book gave me hope that Australia and the world may be moving towards a future where people are more accepting and tolerant of other races and cultures.
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