With the futuristic worlds of dystopian fiction so popular right now, Trash gives us something of a reality check. Set in a world that's poles apart from the consumerist societies the majority of Western readers are used to, it's a book that reminds us that not everyone has it so easy. On this planet, right now, only a plane journey or two from where we live, human beings live on dumpsites. In Trash, we explore this unfathomable existence through the eyes of characters who themselves are so accustomed to it that to them, it's mundane. It's their everyday reality, and that's what's so mindblowing.
Against this remarkable backdrop, the story of Trash unfolds. It's a story of many voices, the narrative shared between the dumpsite boys and those who have a part to play in their tale. Brave and honourable Raphael; his shrewd cousin, Gardo; Jun-Jun, who has nobody in the world to take care of him and lives alone amongst the rats. Generously, the job of narrator is passed to whoever has the most useful viewpoint to offer for the story's telling - each voice distinctive and likeable in its own way. They're characters who have nothing, but they risk their lives and their freedom for their faith in the actions of a man they've never met.
Full of mystery and intrigue, Trash is a page-turning tale of corruption and cunning and valour. Two boys find a single bag of apparently discarded belongings, and suddenly they can't ignore the adventure that's calling them. With the odds - and the ruthless authorities - against them, our unassuming heroes use their wits and their determination to evade capture, enlist the help of allies and crack the complex code at the heart of the mystery they've stumbled upon. For a relatively slim volume, this is a book with major impact. It's a book that forges an emotional bond with the reader; a book that, if you're anything like me, will draw you in and make you care - really care - about the outccome.
Trash expands our worldview and pushes the limits of our experience. It's gripping and humbling and filled with lifelike characters you'll take to your heart. It's an amazing journey. I loved it, and I'd urge anyone to pick up a copy. This one's unforgettable.
Out: September 2nd 2010, UK / October 12th 2010, US
A huge thanks to Random House / David Fickling Books for providing a review copy of Trash.