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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)
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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." (The AU Review)

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

Critic Reviews

"Engrossing and wonderful storytelling. I really loved these strong, brave Wiradyuri characters." (Melissa Lucashenko, author of Too Much Lip)

"A powerful story of family, place and belonging." (Kate Grenville, author of A Room Made of Leaves)

"A remarkable story of courage and a love of country. The tenacity of an Aboriginal woman, Wagadhaany, is made possible by the deep strength of the earth she walks on.... It is a story that hums with contemporary resonance. Anita Heiss writes with heart and energy on every page of this novel." (Tony Birch, author of The White Girl)

What listeners say about Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray

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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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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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beautiful

felt like as I was right by the river
listening to the ancestors of our great
country

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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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A beautiful story

My partner and I loved reading this well written master piece. Such a beautiful heart warming story through a difficult time. We learnt a lot whilst falling in love with the characters. Thank you Anita.

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A must read

An amazing book, transports you back in time. The language being spoken by the narrator soothes the soul. Thank you 👍🏾

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a moving story

This was a great book and revealed the human side to the history pages. the characters are complex with flaws as well as their good qualities. I would certainly recommend it.

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  • EJM
  • 06-07-2021

Beautiful

This story was truly beautiful in its joy and sadness. I am grateful to have been transported to Wagadhaany’s world. Incredibly inspiring storytelling by Anita Heiss.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia 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.