One Hundred Days
by Alice Pung
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Pub Date 17 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 12 Dec 2023
From one of Australia’s most celebrated authors comes a powerful mother-daughter drama that explores the fault lines between love and control, pairing the claustrophobic intensity of Room and My Year of Rest and Relaxation with the youthful angst of Freshwater.
Sixteen and pregnant, Karuna finds herself trapped in her mother’s Melbourne public housing apartment for one hundred days awaiting the birth of her child—and her mother’s next move in a shocking power struggle over who will raise the baby. To fill the seemingly endless hours of her imprisonment, she writes to her unborn child, determined that her baby will know the truth, no matter what happens.
Karuna’s pregnancy is the result of a heady act of independence, lust, and defiance that happened in a moment of freedom from her overprotective mother. In reaction to her daughter’s recklessness, Karuna’s mother locks her inside their apartment to her to make sure she can’t get into any more trouble. While postpartum confinement is a tradition in many cultures, is Karuna’s an act of love—or emotional abuse? As the birth approaches, Karuna and her mother repeatedly trip the fault lines between love and control. And somehow, despite their battles, Karuna recognizes her mother’s love in even the strangest of behaviors.
At times tense and unnerving, One Hundred Days illuminates the pain, confusion, and thrill of growing up and the overwhelming desire of adults to protect the children they