A futuristic Aotearoa ,where very different lives are lived inside and outside a fenced settlement, where plastic is mined and the future is uncertain, is created in Lawrence Patchett's second novel. The Burning River starts with swamp dweller and plastics trader Van, whose friend Rau has just consigned his dead, loved wife to the water. Van has summoned to the settlement a young woman, a fetch. But they have only a short time to make it through the Gap if he agrees to accept an unknown fate. Lynn Freeman talks to Lawrence Patchett about The Burning River, which is published by Victoria University Press.