Yasemin Sandulli’s life spirals out of control after her brother is accused of murder. Following a torrent of events, her father must fight for his life, while her brother fights for his freedom. As Yasemin begins to question her identity and faith, she finds her answer in the most unlikely place.
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Centred around the life of Yasemin Sandulli, ‘Harvesting Hope’ offers a delicately weaved tale of life, love and loss with an ensemble of poetry and prose to highlight the racial intolerance that exists within Australia today.
Sunday 30 October 2005 11.31 p.m.
The sound of breaking glass still echoed through her mind as Yasemin knelt on the hardwood floor of her parent’s bedroom, nursing her father’s bleeding head.
‘You’ll be okay, Dad, just hold on,’ Yasemin promised as her mother, Nevra, dialled for an ambulance.
‘Please come quickly. I tell you already, my husband is hurt and bleeding. I do not understand what you say. Please come quickly,’ pleaded Nevra in her thick Turkish accent.
The repugnant chanting and racial slurs pouring through her parent’s shattered window left Yasemin feeling indignant.
Earlier they’d lit a bonfire on the front lawn, like it was their own. The police hadn’t done a thing to stop it. Instead, had turned a blind eye. ‘Our hands are tied unless they break the law,’ they said.
Well, now those animals had broken the law but it was too late for Sadun Sandulli. As if they hadn’t been through enough already, now they had to suffer violent abuse as well.
Her dear father had been through hell and back over the past several days, failing to salvage what was left of their family after being ripped apart at the seams.
‘I’m sorry, Dad, I wish I’d been less selfish, please forgive me,’ Yasemin sobbed, blaming herself for upsetting her father during what was already a difficult time. ‘I promise, I’ll listen to you from now on, Dad. I love you,’ she added, wiping the tears from her eyes, missing the odd one or two that found its way onto her father’s cheek.
As Sadun closed his eyes, Yasemin’s mind wandered back to a dark place. That single, pivotal moment where life as they knew it had changed forever. It didn’t just fall away gently without a notable ripple. To Yasemin, it was more like being catapulted from one world to the next, without warning.
Harvesting Hope - Review by Kathleen Stewart of Author's Ally
Yasemin Sandulli’s life is turned upside down when her brother is accused of murder. Until then, her life had plodded along at an enjoyable, if somewhat frustrating, pace but there was nothing particularly untoward in the life of this typical modern young woman. Conflict with parents and culture set the pace.
Yasemin is Muslim in a predominantly Christian country, trying her best to fit in despite cultural differences. Not only does she have to contend with the normal conflict between younger and older generations, but also with the tension between Christian and Muslim.
She manages admirably until her younger brother Issy is accused of a brutal attack on a young gay who subsequently dies. Yasemin is caught up in the unreasoning clash of ideologies that results. Harvesting Hope presents the human face of what it is like to be a Muslim in a Christian country.
Issy’s arrest and subsequent trial have a huge impact on the family, with Yasemin falling in love with the young and dynamic lawyer representing her brother, and her father succumbing to the stress of Issy’s arrest by having a heart attack after being set upon by a stone-throwing mob.
Yasemin’s mother, while always subservient, shows another side to her character when the chips are down. She proves to be resilient and determined, fighting to preserve her family. But will it be enough to save her son?
Yasemin is deserted by work colleagues and friends, notably by her best friend and ally, Danni, and has to come to terms with the fickle and often transient nature of affections.
Yasemin’s story comes to a climax when Issy’s verdict is read and she has to decide whether to re-establish contact with Danni or write her off as yet another bad friend. Her dilemma leads to a surprising and moving conclusion to a very human story.
The twists and turns in this thought-provoking young-adult fiction will keep the reader enthralled to the end.
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