The Rip by Mark Brandi


Longlisted for INDIE book award 2020

The Rip by Mark Brandi
Patron Review…
‘This is a story of a nameless girl- we only learn her name six pages from the end – and her sole friend in the world, the gentle, protective and luck-less Anton, as they struggle to survive life on the streets addicted to heroin. Theirs is a love affair of sorts. They sleep in Princes Park, under the Grandstand and they try raising cash by cleaning windscreens of cars stopped at the intersection. She makes money as a sex-worker. They beg. They steal. They shoplift.

We know these people. We see them every day. But unless we have walked in their shoes, we don’t really know them.

They look after their bull terrier, Sunny and they walk the streets. She begs outside that shop Off Ya Tree until she’s moved on. Addiction is obviously bad for business. They are a little family of three, bestowed with a dignity by the author which is plain and unsentimental.

Then they meet Steve Petrovic, a seriously unhinged and menacing criminal who offers them a place to stay for free in a squalid flat with a smell – leeching from his locked bedroom.

This is the girl’s story. She narrates it.

And you never for a moment falter in seeing the world as she sees it. Yes, you witness her making one bad decision after another. And you ache for her that lucky break that never visits. But there is very little of the hardened carapace of the mean-streets about her. Mark Brandi has prised that open and created a portrait coming from deep inside her.

He has given us an unforgettable novel here that gives you a hot sting inside about what it is to be caught in a rip of poverty and addiction, when the only people you trust to give you a hand, can’t swim to save themselves either.’

Review by Hannie Rayson, friend of Great Escape Books.