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  • Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray

  • River of Dreams
  • By: Anita Heiss
  • Narrated by: Tamala Shelton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (341 ratings)

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Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray

By: Anita Heiss
Narrated by: Tamala Shelton
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Publisher's Summary

"There are books you encounter as an adult that you wish you could press into the hands of your younger self. Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray is one of those books – a novel that turns Australia’s long-mythologised settler history into a raw and resilient heartsong." – Guardian 

*** WINNER 2022 NSW PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARD INDIGENOUS WRITER'S PRIZE***
***2022 ABIA SHORTLIST***
***2021 ARA HISTORICAL NOVEL PRIZE SHORTLIST*** 
*** 2022 STELLA PRIZE LONGLIST***
***2022 INDIE BOOK AWARDS LONGLIST*** 
***2022 VICTORIAN PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARDS HIGHLY COMMENDED*** 

Gundagai, 1852

The powerful Murrumbidgee River surges through town leaving death and destruction in its wake. It is a stark reminder that while the river can give life, it can just as easily take it away.

Wagadhaany is one of the lucky ones. She survives. But is her life now better than the fate she escaped? Forced to move away from her miyagan, she walks through each day with no trace of dance in her step, her broken heart forever calling her back home to Gundagai.

When she meets Wiradyuri stockman Yindyamarra, Wagadhaany’s heart slowly begins to heal. But still, she dreams of a better life, away from the degradation of being owned. She longs to set out along the river of her ancestors, in search of lost family and country. Can she find the courage to defy the White man’s law? And if she does, will it bring hope ... or heartache?

Set on timeless Wiradyuri country, where the life-giving waters of the rivers can make or break dreams, and based on devastating true events, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams) is an epic story of love, loss and belonging.

Praise for Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams)
"Heiss fuses fiction with realism, conjuring a resonance still felt in Blak struggle today ... packs heart into every page." – Saturday Paper

"Tells a powerful and affecting tale of Aboriginal people's identity, community and deep connection to country." – Canberra Times

"A profoundly moving showcase of Heiss’ skill ... Intimate, reflective, and impossible to put down."  – AU Review

"Engrossing and wonderful storytelling. I really loved these strong, brave Wiradyuri characters." – Melissa Lucashenko

"A powerful story of family, place and belonging." – Kate Grenville

"A remarkable story of courage and a love of country ... Anita Heiss writes with heart and energy on every page." – Tony Birch

"It is a love story, a story of loss, a hopeful story. The river is a guide, but you have to be open to its spiritual lessons." – Terri Janke

"Anita Heiss is at the height of her storytelling powers in this inspiring, heart-breaking, profound tale." – Larissa Behrendt

"The novel flows like the great Murrumbidgee River itself, with powerful undercurrents that sweep the reader along - I feel it's a book that all Australians should read, to try and understand why our colonial past still causes so much pain and grievance." – Kate Forsyth

©2020 Anita Heiss (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Australia

Critic Reviews

"Heiss fuses fiction with realism, conjuring a resonance still felt in Blak struggle today ... packs heart into every page." – Saturday Paper

"Tells a powerful and affecting tale of Aboriginal people's identity, community and deep connection to country." – Canberra Times

"A profoundly moving showcase of Heiss’ skill ... Intimate, reflective, and impossible to put down." – AU Review

What listeners say about Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray

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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

My biggest problem with this audiobook was the narrator speaking in a 21st century Australian accent when her characters were 19th century aboriginals. Hence despite the author highlighting that Wagadhaany does not understand many English words her dialogue is perfect and quite sophisticated. This was a good story with such potential but the characters felt flat and the story / descriptions lacked depth. Would possibly be better read in print than as an audiobook.

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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AMAZING!! So beautiful, A MUST listen

A MUST listen/read & one of those books that is so amazing to listen to, to hear the beautiful indigenous words & the story out loud was such a gift & belongs to the air, to be heard as well as read. So perfectly relevant, forgiving, explanatory, the themes, personalities, personal misunderstandings, cultural expressions, points of view, totally transported through time to exactly the same issues as right now.
I don't know where to start - just so beautifully written & so much expressed & explained on many levels. Every Australian should listen to or read this, & it has to be on every high school curriculum.

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Equally brilliantly written and narrated

Engaging from first to last word. I was so sad when the book ended as I had become so connected with the characters that I simply didn't want to say farewell. I recently heard Anita interviewed on Wilosophy and she said "There are far more enjoyable ways to learn history than sitting down with a textbook", and she is right. This is both brilliant storytelling and Australian history education at its best.
And what a fabulous selection of narrator. I'm off to search for other eBooks performed by Tamara. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Captivating

Listening to First Nations should be an every day experience in this country - sadly it is not!

The beauty of the presentation, gentleness of people and the rawness of the story, told with a smattering of Wiradjuri language was captivating.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Bravo

I Loved this. I'm embarrassed and ashamed not to know a lot of this history. Enlightening and heartbreaking. I love Tamala Shelton's narration .
would love to see this as a movie so a broader audience could have access to it.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful Reflection of important part of history.

Brilliant story.
The best thing about listening to the lovely narrative was hearing Wiradjuri language spoken.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Breath of fresh air

I loved this Incredible story, story was beautifully read... Will be listening again 🙏🏿.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The identity of slavery/contril and brave love

A magnificent historical novel of the power of white supremacy and manipulation where aboriginal people are charitable, loving and generous. We all can learn of inhernt bravery, deep belonging to the land, culture, freedom and the will to survive. Rich text describes an historical landscape contrasting discrimination and love revealing a past that is still present today.

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2 people found this helpful

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  • Kim
  • 06-09-2021

Heart breaking and eye opening must read

Loved it. A story of colonisation from the point of view of a young Wurundjeri woman separated from her family and in service of settlers.

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Beautifully rich, warm, incredible story telling. A+++++++

Spectacular story telling.
Wonderfully told, beautifully read, perfect.
Would love it read and studied in all schools.

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1 person found this helpful

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.