DISPLACED PERSON book cover   Displaced Person
Lee Harding

Dustjacket synopsis:
"Graeme Drury is seventeen. he is rather an ordinary looking person of average height. He dresses casually and well and gets along fine with his classmates and friends. In fact the typical all-rounder.

"The change begins gradually. More and more he feels that people are ignoring him. Why? Waitresses, tram conductors, even his parents and girl friend, are looking right through him as if they can hardly see or hear him.

"And as he becomes indistinct to them, they and their world become grey and faint to him. Is he going mad? What's going on?

"In this disturbing story Lee Harding has moved a little away from the straightforward science fiction novels with which he has made him name to create a contemporary hero with whom we can identify as he grapples with his psychological adventure.

"Displaced Person won the 1978 Alan Marshall Award for narrative fiction."

"A seventeen-year-old boy's alienation, both actual and metaphysical, from the everyday world of his family and peers is handled in this unusual novel in the manner both of the psychological thriller and of SF. The result is exciting and moving and subtle, an unusually absorbing teenage novel." - Rosemary Wighton
"The narrator of this intriguing story says, 'We are all pawns in a game so vast we will never be able to confront the forces which control our destinies.' The author explores the consequences of this determinist view, in microcosm, by showing what it is like to feel like a pawn, capriciously manipulated. Displaced Person is a dark, intriguing and suspenseful novel, simply told but compellng to read, having the frightning desolation of a surrealist nightmare...or the normal experience of schizophrenia. Lee Harding at his best." - Walter McVitty
"If, as Ursula Le Guin suggests, science fiction provides new metaphors for new aspects of living, Displaced Person is a fine example. Here is alienation experienced through the hurt heart of youth on the retreating fringes of the world. This novel won the 1978 Alan Marshall Award, of which I was one of the judges; it was easily the most original work submitted." - George Turner

First Paragraph:

The darkness is closing in. I must get something down before it becomes absolute. Jamie and Marion have gone already, taking the greyworld with them. And I sit alone in a derelict house, in some godforsaken corner of the universe, talking to a tape recorder.

The cold has gripped me so fiercely that I am afraid to move. But I must do something. So in this place devoid of light and life and hope and any kind of peace, I gain some comfort from the sound of my own voice.

I feel a grinding glacier inside me, pressing hard against my chest. It is the weight of all my fears and I am helpless against such a pressure, but I keep talking in the vague hope that someday, somewhere, my voice will be heard. Not that I expect anyone to believe such an extraordinary tale. I have lived for a while in a place beyond human understanding, and I do not expect to survive to tell my tale. Perhaps these tapes will endure.

From the Hyland House hardback edition, 1979.

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Last modified: October 8, 2003.