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Publisher's Summary

The new novel by Alexis Wright, whose previous novel, Carpentaria, won the Miles Franklin Award and four other major prizes including the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award.

The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of first lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city.

The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright's previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning best seller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale.

©2013 Alexis Wright (P)2016 Bolinda

What listeners say about The Swan Book

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Excellent future fiction read

This was a beautiful future fiction story that rally touched on happenings of today. It felt real. It felt lived. Highly recommended. Will have to listen to it again!

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The great Australian novel?

I think I have just finished The Great Australian Novel. Impossible to categorize, assign it to a genre. What a roller coaster of a reading experience! I am blown away,. It's intellectually, morally and politically challenging. Beautiful, ugly, poetic, crazily humorous borrowing from myriad sources, cultures, philosophies, traditions, unceasingly surprising. delightful, worrying, sad, shocking, funny. A tour de force.

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Confusing

Might just be over my head, but this was the most confusing book I've ever encountered.

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Profile Image for Michael Meder
  • Michael Meder
  • 18-03-2021

Symbolism with a Big S

I'm going to put aside the audio performance which was lovely and focus this review on the book itself. I do not pretend to have a lot of knowledge about Australia's First Peoples and their plight, outside of what I have gleaned from pop-culture and a screening of "Rabbit Proof Fence". That being said this book is dense with purple prose — symbolism, and what I am sure is allegory. If it is allegory, I don't have the historical context. There is mostly caricature — not character. People talking at each with little to no conversation. It's a lot of telling and not showing. I won't downplay the visuals the book evokes — I would love to see a talent make this into a 30 minute animated short. Not a novel. This was a slog. Not for me.

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.