FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
Taboo by Kim Scott
Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural South-West of Western Australia, and tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar's descendants, of a white man who had stolen a black woman. They come at the invitation of Dan Horton, the elderly owner of the farm on which the massacres unfolded. He hopes that by hosting the group he will satisfy his wife's dying wishes and cleanse some moral stain from the ground on which he and his family have lived for generations.
But the sins of the past will not be so easily expunged.
We walk with the ragtag group through this taboo country and note in them glimmers of re-connection with language, lore, country. We learn alongside them how countless generations of Noongar may have lived in ideal rapport with the land. This is a novel of survival and renewal, as much as destruction; and, ultimately, of hope as much as despair.
From Kim Scott, two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, comes a work charged with ambition and poetry, in equal parts brutal, mysterious and idealistic, about a young woman cast into a drama that has been playing for over two hundred years...
NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
Songlines and Fault Lines by Glenn Morrison
Visitors to the Red Centre come looking for the real Australia, but find a place both beautiful and disturbing. There is wilderness, desire and artworks depicting an Aboriginal philosophy of home. But there is also the confusing countenance of the Australian frontier, a meeting place between black and white, ancient and modern.
Songlines and Fault Lines explores the Red Centre on foot, through six remarkable stories that have shaped our nation. It follows Aboriginal Dreamtime ancestors along a songline and trudges with John McDouall Stuart as he crosses the continent, and walks the Finke River in the footsteps of anthropologist TGH Strehlow. It keeps pace with conservationist Arthur Groom as he reimagines the country's heart as tourist playground, ponders a philosophy of walking with British travel writer Bruce Chatwin, and then strolls the grog-troubled streets of Alice Springs with Eleanor Hogan.
Retracing time-worn pathways and stories of Australia's centre, Glenn Morrison finds fresh answers to age-old queries.