Combined Reviews: Home by Larissa Behrendt


Reviews of Home by Larissa Behrendt: (This novel won the David Uniapon Award for Indigenous Writers.)

"This brilliant first novel should make David Marr a happy man. This is a perfect example of the political novel, engaged with the experiences and imaginings of contemporary everyday Australians." So says Jo Case in her review on the website. She finishes with a seal of approval: "Home skilfully demonstrates how this country has ended up in the mess it is in - not through wanton, comic-book cruelty, but through a cycle of prejudice, misunderstanding and abuse of power."

On the website, Sally Murphy agrees with Case's assessment: "Behrendt also uses the book to comment, directly and indirectly, on the political and legal plight of her people in a way which, again, humanises these issues and exposes them to readers who perhaps are in need of a fresh perspective...This is an outstanding first novel."

Anita Heiss, in "Australian Humanities Review", starts off her review by stating: "I haven't met one Indigenous Australian who hasn't been affected by the policies of protection that lead to what we commonly refer to as the Stolen Generations. Coupled with having read extensively and written a novel on the same subject myself, Larissa Behrendt's award winning novel Home was a disturbingly familiar read for me." Which is followed somewhat later by: "Revealing an obvious talent for the creative form, the rich writing in Behrendt's Home was only hindered by the slabs of lectures that appeared throughout the book, as the author fell into her 'other role' as academic." Heiss is impressed with the fiction but not with the need to introduce a catalog of Indigenous issues into the work. I tend to forgive such "faults" (if they are faults at all) in first-time novelists as they have to find their feet somehow. Second and third novels on the other hand, don't tend to get the same sort of consideration. And I don't have problems with "issues", just how they are integrated into the work.

Terri Janke, in a review on the ABC Book review website concludes: "This is more than a historical novel or a story about reclaiming lost family connections. Home is written from the heart. The author has drawn on her life, her passion, her family heritage to produce a fresh, innovative and well-written piece of fiction, full of juicy yarns that keep you reading. The author also weaves in the stories of her people, the Eualeyai people, as told to her by her father. In this sense the novel is truly a literary gem."

Other reviews: "The Age" - " describe it as a good first novel or a good indigenous novel is to undersell it; Home is, without qualification, simply a good novel."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 13, 2005 11:04 AM.

Forthcoming Australian SF and Fantasy was the previous entry in this blog.

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