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“Departure”, by Kim Scott; “Our Hero, Our Brother”, by Liz Hayden.

July 11, 2017

“Departure”, by Kim Scott; “Our Hero, Our Brother”, by Liz HaydenReview of Australian Fiction 15: 4.

For Lisa’s Indigenous Literature Week

Review of Australian Fiction presents digital copies of short stories pairing a well-known author and a less famous one.  Kim Scott, a prominent Indigenous Australian writer, has published several novels, including the prize-winning That Dead Man Walking. Here a story of his appears with one by Liz Hayden, about whom I could not find information online.  Both stories deal with young Indigenous adolescents are taken by sinister,  Indigenous captors.

In Scott’s story Tilly, dressed in her school uniform and caught up in her music, rides a bus to visit her Indigenous father.  When she gets off the bus she is met and taken ominous men.  In Hayden’s story Cleon, an adopted boy is taken off the street and killed.

The mood of both stories is grim and threatening.  Both reveal innocence and safety lost.  Hayden’s story is well-written, but Scott’s simply has more punch.  I was not sure if she benefited by being presented with him.  His sparse tale left me with a host of unnamed fears.  He uses silence to wonderful effect.  What we don’t know is always the worst thing possible.  Both stories also left me aware of how I dislike short stories.  I wanted disparately to be told what was happening and why.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2017 3:12 pm

    what a good idea to do that pairing though as you say sometimes the less well known person doesn’t always benefit from comparison. I also struggle with short stories – they invariably leave me wanting more

  2. July 11, 2017 6:40 pm

    Oh short stories, me too, Marilyn and Karen, and there are so many collections by favourite authors these days….when all I want is another novel!
    Anyway, thanks for this Marilyn, you are a gem and do not worry about the Indigenous Lit Week deadline because there is no deadline, ILW is a week to coincide with NAIDOC Week but I include all reviews on the 2017 Reviews list to the end of Jul, and any time after that to the ANZ LitLovers Indigenous Reading List page. But if you add a comment to https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/06/06/reviews-from-indigenous-literature-week-at-anz-litlovers-2017/ then anyone who’s subscribed to that page for comments will see that there is a new review and come here to your blog to see it:)
    Thanks again:)

  3. July 11, 2017 7:02 pm

    PS I searched for Liz Hayden’s details too… I wasn’t able to find out what her country is, but I did find an article about how a member of her family, a young boy of 14 called Cleon Jackman, was abducted, hog-tied for five hours and then murdered. (see http://bit.ly/2u5RIxS)
    So I’m guessing that her story is personal…

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