Nominated by:

State Library of Western Australia, Perth

State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

National Library of Australia, Canberra

State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Publisher of nominated edition:

Picador, Australia

Taboo

Kim Scott      

From the two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Award From Kim Scott comes 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 two hundred years …

Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural South-West 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 ancestors, 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 re-connection 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 novel of survival and renewal, as much as destruction; and, ultimately, of hope as much as despair.

About the Author

Kim Scott is a multi-award winning novelist. Benang (1999) was the first novel by an Indigenous writer to win the Miles Franklin Award and That Deadman Dance (2010) also won Australia’s premier literary prize, among many others. Proud to be one among those who call themselves Noongar, Kim is founder and chair of the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Story Project(www.wirlomin.com.au), which has published a number of bilingual picture books. A Companion to the Works of Kim Scott (Camden House, 2016) deals with aspects of his career in education and literature. He received an Australian Centenary Medal and was 2012 West Australian of the Year. Kim is currently Professor of Writing in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin University.

Librarians’ comments:

Taboo is the story of destruction but also of survival and renewal. Set in the present day, it tells the story of a group of Aboriginal people visiting a ‘taboo’ place by invitation – the site of a massacre of their people generations before. Two times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Kim Scott immerses the reader through beautiful prose as his characters reconnect with their language, lore and country.

Award-winning author Kim Scott masterfully crafts a complex story of hope amidst  brutality and despair. Set in a rural town built on an Aboriginal massacre site in southwest Australia, Taboo explores how present-day generations might renew and remake themselves together, even while living under the long shadow of history.

Taboo is a gripping and powerful work from a master storyteller and two-time recipient of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia’s prestigious award for literary fiction. Taboo takes place in rural South-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 the Noongar’s ancestors, of a white man who had stolen a black woman. Readers walk with the group through this Taboo country and note in them glimmers of reconnect ion with language, lore and country. We learn alongside them, how countless generations of Noongar may have lived in ideal rapport with this land. This is a novel of survival and renewal, as much as destruction; and ultimately of hope as much as despair. Australian Book Review said of this work, ‘Taboo makes a strong case to be the novel that will help clarify – in the way only literature can – what reconciliation might mean.’

 

 

 

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