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Publisher's Summary

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 200 years....

Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural southwest 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 reconnection 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 story of survival and renewal as much as destruction and, ultimately, of hope as much as despair.

©2017 Kim Scott (P)2018 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A West Australian classic

This novel, so beautifully, rhythmically written and read is a hymn for our country and the chaos we find ourselves in in this 21st century. Nothing is glamorised, it is all raw and real. Landscape is the solace of struggling souls. What a gift to have Kim Scott read his own work and add so much nuance to the characters of this story which will surely be movie in a cinema near you soon. A perfect portrait of the complexities of reconciliation described with pathos and authenticity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A wonderful read

This stunning book should be compulsory reading for anyone who, like me, has no knowledge of aboriginal culture. Beautifully read by the author; his voice has a lyrical cadence that makes this book almost hypnotic yet compelling to listen to.

The opening of a Peace Park, as a memorial to a past white atrocity in a small rural outback town, is the catalyst that brings the traditional owners back to an area considered because of the past massacre to be taboo.

The laying of ghosts, the settling & acceptance of past injustices & the stark reality of the life of many aboriginal people today is wonderfully nuanced. The harsh reality of injustice, suppression & coercive control is carefully counterbalanced by the beautiful descriptions of bush & country, aboriginal law & culture.

I loved this book. I have it as an audio file but will go out & buy a paper copy. I want to read this again & again.


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Important and enjoyable

It was a joy to listen to Kim Scott tell this story. An important one that represents so many unheard stories. Highly recommend.