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WellRead July Selection: One Hundred Days by Alice Pung

WellRead July Selection: One Hundred Days by Alice Pung

We were very excited when we heard that Alice Pung had a new release scheduled for 2021 and that it would be a literary novel for adults. If you've been following Pung's career, you'll know that, along with editing a bunch of anthologies, she has also published essay collections, two memoirs and the multi-award-winning YA novel Laurinda. We were right to be excited as it turns out Pung just gets better and better.

One Hundred Days is set in the suburbs of Melbourne in the 1980s and follows 16-year-old Karuna, a Chinese-Filipino Australian, who falls pregnant after a whirlwind romance with a tutor. Incensed, Karuna’s mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat for 100 days – a postpartum confinement tradition in some cultures.

This is a story about complicated love, control, defying the stereotypes of young motherhood, autonomy, generational and cross-cultural clashes, and so much more. Although at times it can feel intensely claustrophobic, there is also warmth, inspiration and humour to be found within its pages.

We love that Pung has compared the novel to Vivian Pham’s The Coconut Children (our April 2020 selection). Both books offer a sophisticated portrait of youth from an adolescent perspective. And it works so well! Pung writes with depth and complexity, and this story of understanding what it is to be both mother and daughter will pull at your heartstrings and plead not to be put down. We hope you love it as much as we did!

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