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Publisher's Summary

William is eight-years-old when his father is killed in a farming accident and he is invited, along with his psychologically fragile mother, to live with his great-uncle John McIvor at the decaying homestead of Kuran House. The property is the original station of the Darling Downs and the imminent Native Title Act is of great concern to the local landowners. McIvor, a hard and driven man, is organising a rally against the Act, whilst at the same time testing William as a potential heir of Kuran House. His mother is desperate for the security and wealth she has never had, and the pressures on Will from his mother and uncle are unrelenting. As the past and present of Kuran Station unravel and merge, the price of that inheritance may prove to be the downfall of them all.

©2004 Copyright © 2004 by Andrew McGahan. (P)2004 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Critic Reviews

" The White Earth is an ambitious and multilayered novel that ranges across the 150-year history of white settlement on the Darling Downs. It touches on such recent political issues as the passage of native title legislation, the 'history wars' and the growing alienation and resentment of rural white Australia - sentiments that, as we now know, provided a natural constituency for One Nation. But The White Earth also has all the trappings of a classic supernatural tale, and McGahan seamlessly blends the factual elements with the preternatural dimensions - the ghosts of black and white that haunt the landscape." (Aviva Tuffield, The Age)
“The saga of the McIvors is nothing less than a grim and supremely entertaining take on colonialism in Australia and the tortured, stained hearts of all its New World cousins. A-.” ( Entertainment Weekly)
“McGahan scrutinizes his characters without puppetry, and his prose moves with grace, smoothness and a gift for setting.” ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What listeners say about The White Earth

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Urgent and important

this is an incredibly important work of Australian literature marking the beginning of necessary truth telling. McGahan's death is a great loss.

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Australian Gothic

I read this novel as it listed as a prescribed text for the new Queensland Senior English syllabus. I found it quite slow to begin with and struggled to connect or empathise with any of the characters. However I began to realise that this disconnect may have been intentional by McGahan once the history of Kuran Station was unravelled. I enjoyed the parallel storylines and foregrounding of the land. While I don't think this novel suits the context of my school, I can certainly see the potential of unpacking the themes and issues with mature Year 12 students.

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a great novel of australian rural life

Would you consider the audio edition of The White Earth to be better than the print version?

a wonderful reading,no doubt made the great story very very real

What was one of the most memorable moments of The White Earth?

the land title period of our history

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  • Michael
  • 12-01-2019

Won the Myles Franklin Award??

Tedious story that could’ve been condensed. Story writing was ponderous, strange descriptions of things not connected to the story.
Music added at each chapter to simulate drama that wasn’t there.
If this won the Myles Franklin in 2005, I wonder about the rest of the entrants.
Listen as you go to sleep, set the app to 8 minutes and you’ll go off to sleep easily.

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