Danny – Dhananjaya Rajaratnam – is an undocumented immigrant in Sydney, denied refugee status after he has fled from his native Sri Lanka. Working as a cleaner, living out of a grocery storeroom, for three years he’s been trying to create a new identity for himself. And now, with his beloved vegan girlfriend, Sonja, with his hidden accent and highlights in his hair, he is as close as he has ever come to living a normal Australian life.
But then one morning, Danny learns a female client of his has been murdered. When Danny recognizes a jacket left at the murder scene, he believes it belongs to another of his clients ― a doctor with whom he knows the woman was having an affair. Suddenly Danny is confronted with a choice: come forward with his knowledge about the crime and risk being deported, or say nothing, and let justice go undone? Over the course of a single day, evaluating the weight of his past, his dreams for the future, and the unpredictable, often absurd reality of living invisibly and undocumented, he must wrestle with his conscience and decide if a person without rights still has responsibilities.
Amnesty was a beautifully written page turner, set over the course of a day, as Sri Lankan immigrant to Australia Danny finds he has knowledge that may well help solve a murder – problem being he has overstayed his welcome and now faces a moral dilemma…his ability to remain under the radar versus the right thing to do…
The author paints a vivid picture over the timeline, of Danny’s life here as an undocumented person and the life he left behind- presenting the reader with their own dilemma in whether to root for Danny to avoid deportation at the cost of a killer going free.
The writing is full of insightful undertone, the character study it presents is entirely riveting, Amnesty is a novel to savour that avoids all paths of least resistance and simply immerses you into a very different way of living with a hugely difficult set of choices.
I thought it was excellent, a crime novel that isn’t actually a crime novel. A piece of literary style prose wrapped up in an addictively clever drama.