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Too Much Lip - Book Review

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by May (subscribe)
Typical Gemini, with the concentration span of a gnat & not one for sitting still. My old Da used to say that "you're a long time dead". So my mantra is get busy living.Please join me for more at brizzymaysbooksandbruschettasite.wordpress.com
Published September 15th 2019
2019 Miles Franklin Award Winner
Melissa Lucashenko's latest book, Too Much Lip,, recently won the 2019 Miles Franklin Award, awarded to "a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases".

This is one confrontational novel with an uncomfortable depiction of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. I'm even more uncomfortable in that as a non- Indigenous person I would be made a pariah if I suggested some of the things which are in this book.

Protagonist Kerry returns to her hometown of Durrongo on a stolen Harley to bid farewell to her dying grandfather. A fugitive with warrants out for her arrest, she does not intend to stay in town for long. However she soon becomes embroiled in dramas with regards to her family, her local family history, and the overdevelopment of the local community, and unexpectedly finds love with a white fella despite previously being a proud lesbian.

Courtesy of wikipeadia


All of the characters are flawed and totally devoid of charm. There's domestic violence, fraud, alcoholism, welfare and child neglect issues. There's White colonisation, aboriginal massacres and the Stolen Generation issues. Yet within all this ugliness and brutality entwined are beautiful things such as Dreamtime, connection to country, communication with animals (totems) and ancestors.

In the Afterword, Lucashenko writes that while Too Much Lip is a work of fiction "lest any readers assume this portrayal of Aboriginal lives is exaggerated, I would add that virtually every incidence of violence in these pages has occurred within my extended family at least once. The (very) few exceptions are drawn either from the historical record or from Aboriginal oral history".

Compelling reading.

Warning: The language is contemporary and may offend.

Available from all good bookstores.
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Your Comment
Thanks May for your review. I have it on my list.
by May Cross (score: 3|5382) 31 days ago
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