Tag Archive for: Aboriginal

The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginal people still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change.

It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning bestseller.

It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale, has Oblivia Ethylene in the company of amazing characters like Aunty Bella Donna of the Champions, the Harbour Master, Big Red and the Mechanic, a talking monkey called Rigoletto, three genies with doctorates, and throughout, the guiding presence of swans.

 

Read our Librarian’s top climate change fiction picks by heading to our Fiction section

This remarkable book is about everything from echidnas to evolution, cosmology to cooking, sex and science and spirits to Schrodinger’s cat. Tyson Yunkaporta looks at global systems from an Indigenous perspective. He asks how contemporary life diverges from the pattern of creation. How does this affect us? How can we do things differently? Sand Talk provides a template for living. It’s about how lines and symbols and shapes can help us make sense of the world. It’s about how we learn and how we remember. It’s about talking to everybody and listening carefully. It’s about finding different ways to look at things. Most of all it’s about Indigenous thinking, and how it can save the world.

‘As consequences of civilisation squeeze modernity in a death grip, connecting with the ancestral world, breaking out of our box of time, is perhaps the most radical act any of us can do.

In his startling manual Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World, Tyson Yunkaporta describes five ways of seeing from an Aboriginal perspective – kinship mind, storytelling mind, dreaming mind, ancestor mind and pattern mind. All five help perceive the land and ourselves within it, kin with creatures, rivers, rocks and sky. This knowledge is embedded in ritual, storytelling and practice that hold communities and cultures together, so human beings can be ‘custodial’ for places and living beings. We have a thousand-year clean up ahead of us, Yunkaporta tells us, and generously hands us the imaginative tools to begin the work.’ – Charlotte Du Cann, guest contributor to May 2022’s Rebel Library Recommends

 

Purchase Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World from Hive online bookshop