PAPERBACK BOOKS
THE ACCIDENTAL RADICAL

accidental radical cover
The Accidental Radical. is an exciting and thought-provoking read from start to finish. The story opens up in devastated post-war Holland and follows the De Groen family as they immigrate to Australia in the hope of a new life.
 
 
The harsh reality of new migrants is a horrendous challenge for the family and young Fia is determined to succeed.
 
As a teenager Fia’s life is suddenly turned upside down when she becomes involved in the plight of Aborigines and other injustices in a racially white Australia; trouble seems to follow her.
 
With early motherhood and a family breakdown she heads North in an old kombi van where she gets caught up with radical characters, dope dealers and politicians.

 

From spending months in guerrilla style camps from the rainforest to the lawns of Parliament House, Fia’s exciting yet dangerous life finally catches up with her.

 

In Store Price: $35.95 
Online Price:   $34.95

ISBN: 978-1-921731-18-1   
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 391
Genre: Fiction

 
 

Author: Sophia Hoeben
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2010
Language: English

HOME PAGE

  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR  

Sophia Hoeben spent her early childhood in Holland before migrating with her family to Australia in the 1950s. Growing up in the tumultuous sixties, she became a keen social observer, sensitised to the plight of the underdog. Her interest in writing came with the knowledge of the need for social and political change in the world.  

Her first published article entitled ‘Black and White’ chronicled the struggle of the indigenous people in Western Australia against mining conglomerates. Since that time, her many short stories and poems have been published in the Nimbin News and the Nimbin Good Times. These articles were eclectic in nature covering many subjects which include politics, agriculture and sustainability.  

Currently she lives communally in the hills of Nimbin, New South Wales pursuing spiritual growth through a deep and abiding commitment to the welfare of Mother Earth.

About the Accidental Radical 

The story begins in post-war Holland amidst the ruins of Amsterdam and continues in Australia from the 1950s to the present day. The main character of the story is a young girl growing up within a family with whom she feels no affinity and a world in which she feels out of place. The story follows her through her teenage years and early adult life, early motherhood and subsequent family breakdown…her entire life appears at times to be an emotional maelstrom. Bad things seem to seek her out and her life is constantly thrown into chaos by the actions of those around her. In desperation, she finally leaves her troubles behind and hits the road heading North in an old kombi van. Along the way, and always accidentally, she finds herself involved in both high and low places with characters ranging from politicians to dope dealers. However, her passion and drive brings her constantly back to the plight of the planet, women and Aboriginal people, and it is in these areas where much of the books action takes place ranging from months-long actions in the rainforest in guerrilla style camps to the lawns of Parliament House.

Eventually, Fia De Groen meets her soul mate, falls in love and pretends to retire from it all and live a simple life in the bush. Unfortunately for our hero, the modern world of the 21st century cannot be kept at bay and finally catches up with her.

READ A SAMPLE:

Early next morning, Nick positioned himself close to the road. Amidst the noise and confusion, he slipped, almost unnoticed at first, under a four-wheel-drive police vehicle. As his legs disappeared under the wheels, he let go a blood-curdling scream which Fia instantly recognised.

Setting off in the direction of the scream, an annoying hand grabbed her arm saying, ‘You’re under arrest for obstructing the road.’

She wanted to say, ‘just a minute, I’ll just see if Nick’s okay’, but knew it would be useless.

The way to the paddy-wagon was barred by protesters and distraught children wailing as their parents were led away. Screams filled the air, ‘Oh no! They’ve run over him again!’ someone cried.

 ‘Quick, get an ambulance!’ the cry resounded in her ears. Had they really run over Nick?

In the distance, songs of protest soared above the noise and chaos as the trucks just kept on rolling.

When two detectives arrived at the Nimbin Police Station wanting Fia to come with them, she thought she was to be singled out for that ‘special treatment’ so often dealt to Aboriginal people. As she was being removed from the rest of her tribe in the holding pen, they protested, ‘Hey, where are you taking her?’

When they didn’t answer, she asked nervously, ‘Where are you taking me?’

‘Oh, you’ll see,’ one of them replied ominously.

As soon as they pulled into the hospital’s car park, she realised they’d purposely tried to scare her. This was where Nick was being treated. It was obvious they wanted to interview them both together, but why the secrecy?

Nick was in the treatment room, and for a period of time they sat together in the waiting room. When an elderly couple came in and saw the two detectives with Fia sitting in between, they promptly turned around and left. Inwardly, she laughed at the thought of herself as a dangerous criminal, yet many people automatically assumed that anyone in the custody of the police must be guilty of something.

Nick partially rose to greet Fia as she entered, then laid back again when he saw the two detectives behind her.

‘Ah...Fia, it’s good to see that you’re okay at least.’

‘Sorry I couldn’t bring you better company,’ she said throwing the cops a grimace, ‘but I didn’t have much choice. Did they really run over your leg twice!?’

‘Yeah... Then reversed back over it again as I lay on the road!’ he said playing it up.

The cops stepped forward as the doctor entered, ‘How’s the leg now, Nick?’ the doctor asked, interrupting the imminent questioning.

‘Oh it’s real sore, Doc. Can I have some more painkillers?’ Nick said, looking for free drugs.

‘Err...later perhaps. For now I have the results of your x-rays, and I’m happy to tell you that there’s nothing broken. However, you do have severe bruising and a sprained ankle,’ he said holding the x-ray up to the light.

‘Did you hear that, boys? Severe bruising and a sprained ankle, and that’s what you’re here to find out, isn’t it? How bad it is. So now you can piss off and report back to your boss, and you can tell him from me, this will stop the logging, just you wait see!’

‘You’re a real smart-arse boy, but you and your girlfriend had better be aware that we’re keeping an eye on you both. We know that you’re troublemakers wherever you go, and I can tell you now that you won’t get away with it forever.’

He turned to Fia, ‘Do you want a permanent police record?’

‘I’ve never sought it...but now, I’m quite proud of it!’

They threw her a look of disgust then left without saying another word. She knew she was skating on thin ice, but as long as her conscience was clear she really didn’t care.

Nick’s foot sacrifice went national, as newspapers, radio stations and television channels featured the story of the injured protester, run over by a police vehicle. The pressure now fell to bear on Premier West to act quickly.

In Nimbin, one protester, squatting beside the muddied creek, picked up his guitar and sang a song which perfectly described their last days of action:

 ‘I SEE THE RIVER FLOWING DOWN, AS I STAND HERE ON THE SHORE,

AND I WATCH THE WATER TURNING BROWN AND I WONDER WHAT FOR, WHY DO YOU DO THIS?

THE MACHINES OF DEATH, THEY CAME TODAY WITH A PROMISE OF MORE PAIN, SMASHING TREES AND PEOPLE IN THE WAY...

TOMORROW THEY’LL BE BACK AGAIN, DOING WHAT THEY DID TODAY.

WELL, I’M STANDING HERE IN NIMBIN TOWN...IT’S ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WEEP, YOUR APATHY JUST BRINGS ME DOWN...ARE YOU REALLY ALL ASLEEP?

OR ONLY DREAMING?

SO I WATCH THE WATER FLOWING DOWN, AS I STAND HERE ON THE SHORE, AND I SEE THE RIVER TURNING BROWN AND I WONDER HOW MUCH MORE...CAN WE TAKE FROM YOU?’

 Hiding her tears in the glow of the campfire, Fia wept out all the emotion bottled up inside. The past months had been gruelling, maybe Nick’s foolhardy antic would be the turning point of the campaign.

When the joyous news finally arrived on the 27th of October ’82, the Sydney Morning Herald spread the headline across the front page:

 

‘RAINFOREST LOGGING IS BANNED’

The Land and Environment Court had granted an injunction bringing a halt to all logging of rainforest in N.S.W. It was a grand victory for the Nightcap Action Group, but mostly for the earth and all her occupants.

On hearing the news, jubilation struck the camp. Everyone went wild, dancing and singing songs of victory in the mud and drizzling rain until completely soaked. Nick, discharged from hospital, was accorded a hero’s welcome on returning to camp. Fia considered what he did as one of his finer stunts. It took courage to sacrifice your foot, the kind of courage which had saved the day!

Following, in the wake of the action, the figures poured out from the statisticians. The result of their vigil was that the New South Wales Government declared a total of 104,000 hectares of rainforest protected. It was the largest tract of forest ever saved in Australia, perhaps in the world! Her vow to the little ones had been partially fulfilled, but there was a lot more in need of saving.

 

Click on the cart below to purchase this book:                 

HOME PAGE

All Prices in Australian Dollars                                                                    CURRENCY CONVERTER

(c) 2010 Zeus Publications           All rights reserved.