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That Deadman Dance

by Kim Scott

This is a clever fictional account of the merging cultures of the native Australian (Noongar) and early European settlers. I found it required full concentration as the non-linear narrative, lack of speech-marks, and occasional hybrid English-Aborigine prose was challenging at times. Without giving anything away, it has an interesting narrative perspective seeing that the author is the son of an Aboriginal father and an English mother.

Extract

Cross sent Bobby for Wooral and Menak, but only Wooral came. Bobby didn’t know what was wrong with Menak, or if he was grumpy with Cross and all his people, these new ones who had arrived with the latest ship. Cross said, No matter, but we need a dance performed, a corroboree. These visitors are our friends and we want to welcome them properly, make them feel at home. But only you, our Noongar friends, can truly do that.
Chaine laughed.


Parallels

Cry of the Curlew by Peter Watts
Moby Dick by Helman Melville
 

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