Review: Gail Jones’ “Sorry”

by writereaderly

Perdita is ten years old, and lives in a shack in the Kimberley filled with books, current WWII press cuttings, a tryhard British anthropologist father (Nicholas) and a crackpot mother (Stella) who recites Shakespeare at the drop of a powdered wig. She also has an Aboriginal sister, Mary, stolen from her mother and convent-trained in Perth for a life of servitude. Nicholas is stabbed, and bleeds his last on the shack floor. Mary is taken to a reformatory. Perdita is struck stammered. The two meet again in Perth and lo, the truth will out.

This book is splendid. Immaculately written, weighted with a plumb-bob, and carefully – so carefully wrought and wringing – to talk of family and silence and exclusion and whitefella/blackfella love and debt. Amazing book. I had tears in my eyes for the last forty pages. Hollowness inside. Amazing. Read it. I’ll read everything of hers I can get my hands on.

*** Some version of this review, conceivably bearing nothing in common except the same title, will soon appear in the October/November edition of the Terania Times.***

Where it came from: Library via Bookclub
Time and manner of reading: Two good armchair-reads
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of: All those things whitefellas don’t want to be reminded of
Who I’d recommend it to: Any human
Also reading: Rabbit #5; The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister edited by Helena Whitbread

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