Ro­han Wil­son

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

These days the re­lease of a new Kim Scott novel feels like a lit­er­ary event. It wasn’t al­ways this way. His first two books, True Coun­try (1993) and Be­nang (1999), es­tab­lished him more as a writer’s writer: a bril­liant, if raw, voice call­ing to us from across the Nullar­bor. But with his pre­vi­ous book, the gob­s­mack­ing Dance (2010), Scott an­nounced him­self as the coun­try’s most im­por­tant nov­el­ist.

It was a book that took a fresh look at Aus­tralia’s past. We had the typ­i­cal scenes of first con­tact as white set­tlers ar­rived in Al­bany and be­gan to alien­ate Abo­rig­i­nal land, yet in Scott’s telling this didn’t de­volve into vi­o­lence.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween set­tlers and the lo­cal Noon­gar is much more akin to an ex­change than a ri­valry and the vi­o­lence is fore­stalled by a mu­tual de­sire to un­der­stand.

Scott has twice won the Miles Franklin Lit­er­ary Award, first for Be­nang and then for That Dead­man Dance. With his de­sire to move be­yond the polemics of post­colo­nial his­tory, and the gen­eros­ity of his out­look, he has en­larged Taboo By Kim Scott Pi­cador, 287pp, $32.99

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