In a radically changed Aotearoa New Zealand, Van’s life in the swamp is hazardous. Sheltered by Rau and Matewai, he mines plastic and trades to survive. When a young visitor summons him to the fenced settlement on the hill, he is offered a new and frightening responsibility—a perilous inland journey that leads to a tense confrontation and the prospect of a rebuilt world.
‘Patchett’s is an extraordinary imaginative achievement: an unsettlingly strange, and fully realised, narrative situation and world. I read The Burning River experiencing a mixture of intellectual exhilaration and emotional agitation of an intensity fiction has not produced in me for some time.’