February 2018

The book of the month was Taboo by Kim Scott. Scott is a descendant of the Noongar people who first created human society along the south coast of Western Australia.

Based around the fictional town of Kokanarup where a “massacre” of Noongar people in the late nineteenth century took place, it is in this Noongar country that the book is set. White Australians in the area resist the term “massacre”. Whilst Kokanarup is a fictional town, Scott has drawn from the very real series of events around Cocanarup Station in 1880, where a Noongar man was arrested and charged with the crime of killing a European landowner on the Station. Reprisal killings of Noongar people occurred after that.
The narrative is driven by two events. The opening of a Peace Park to commemorate the massacre, and a Noongar workshop on this ancestral “taboo” land. Taboo follows a little band of survivors, to journey back to the country to recreate the land and bring healing. They follow a retreating tide of history and return with language and story. The trip provides a catalyst for connection with a story of place deeper than colonization, and for the transformation and healing.

There is a third story, that of Tilly, the adolescent girl who travels with the group and who has recently discovered her heritage from an Aboriginal father. Tilly has been a victim of an unscrupulous white man, the son of the farmer who now owns the land where the massacre took place. She bears many scars of her internal turmoil.

Other taboos in the novel voice the fact that having been dispossessed from their ancestral land, had their language crushed and spirits violated, the first societies of this continent now struggle to find a place. They are plagued by alcohol and drugs, and many of the men die young and spend time in prison for violence.
Kim Scott has in a richly poetic novel reconstitutes Noongar spirit in the present day and brings it directly to bear on the traumatic past and violent present and bring healing to both. Healing is made possible by the recovery and return of the old Noongar language and connection to place.
The discussion by the group following the review of this book touched on the apathy and ignorance of modern white Australia not only of the history of our indigenous peoples, but how we as a Nation can do so much better in our recognition of the first people of this nation. All members of the group had read and finished the book and the general consensus was of admiration for Scott’s beautiful writing and important message.

Kim Scott was the first indigenous writer to win the Miles Franklin award for his book Benang. He was appointed Professor of Writing in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts of Curtin University in December, 2011. He is a member of The Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT), leading its Indigenous Culture and Digital Technologies research program. Taboo is Kim Scott’s fifth novel.

Ratings: Claudia 4, Denise 4, Di 4, Glenda 3, Janet 4, Judith 4,  Kim 4.5, Margie 3.5 and Nicola 3.5.

Next month we get together on the  12/03/18 at 6:30pm to discuss The life to come by Michelle de Kretser, at Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops).

About Us

We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.

Preece HouseWe meet at the 1948 heritage Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops) on the second Monday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. excluding Public Holidays. A small contribution is required towards the rent of the room, but not if you are a first timer. The amount depends on the number of people attending.
One book title is chosen each month and we all read that book. There is a ‘host’ who introduces and co-ordinates the discussion. The role of host is rotated around the group so that each member has the opportunity to nominate their book (it could also be an author, theme or genre). The host also acts as chairperson for that meeting.
Although we are not a social club (we are readers), we occasionally attend literary events, relevant movies or plays here at the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Byron Bay. We conform to basic meeting practices and everyone has an equal opportunity to express their opinion. Everyone’s interpretation is valid, as long as it’s expressed respectfully.
We welcome any new members who share our aims and are happy to contribute to our group. Newcomers are not required to have read the book to attend the first meeting and no contribution is required from them.
Feel free to have a look at our Booklist for 2018 and Newsletters in the sidebar. If you are reading this blog in a mobile device, switch to desktop view.

CONTACT DETAILS

We meet from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on the 2nd Monday of every month at the heritage listed Preece House located at Bischoff Park, Nerang Street (next corner White St), Nerang next door to shops at 54 Nerang Street. Please contact us for info on meetings that fall on Public Holidays.
For more information use the contact form.

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