Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Terra Nullius" by Claire G. Coleman

Started reading on: 18th January 2018 as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018.
This book was recommended to me by the owners of Adelaide's Pop-Up Bookshop. The author is an indigenous Australian from W.A. and has won a "Black & Write" fellowship in 2016.

Wow... the Aussie Author Challenge 2018 is certainly off to a good start, with a 10/10 score from me for a book written by an author who was new to me - Claire G. Coleman. Even if this book had solely been an historical novel based on the invasion of Australia by the British and the horrors of what was done by many 'Settlers' to the 'Native' population, this book would have been powerful and had a strong impact on me. But this book is so much more than that. As it says on the back cover "This is not the Australia of our history. This Terra Nullius is something new, but all too familiar." For the first approx. 120 pages it does indeed feel like you are thrown into the dark history of Australia in the late 1800s-early 1900s, with Native characters being 're-educated' by Settlers in harsh outback religious schools, slaves attempting futile escape attempts from their cruel masters on farms, and being tracked by Troopers who have the upper hand in terms of weaponry and technology but little outback survival skills and who secretly just wish they could get back on a ship to go home to their motherland. However there comes a point where something strikingly unexpected dawns on you as the reader and becomes more apparent as you progress, and this surprising twist really hits home. I want to say so much more as this book is a page-turner while also emotionally hitting home and making you consider our history in a different light and even made me question humanity in some ways. But I can't say more, as I don't want to ruin the surprise at the heart of this book - you just have to read it for yourself. I thoroughly recommend it.

Started reading: 18th January 2018
Finished: 31st January 2018
My score: 10/10
Genre: Historical fiction
Read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018: Female author & new to me author.

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