Review: Larissa Behrendt’s “Home”

by writereaderly

larissa behrendt homeI’d thought this was a reread, but I was feeling particularly guilt-ridden/animated by the Global Women of Colour Challenge so I grabbed it again from the library’s abandonment shelves. It came back to me as I read: (clearly autobiographical) contemporary indigenous woman lawyer researching her past, as a pretext for historical fiction on the dispossession of Australian Aboriginals. An axe to grind, indeed, as Behrendt doesn’t fail to implement in the extremely painful framing-story intro (so badly written! so heavy handed! so infuriating!). Thankfully for all concerned, including the unfortunate audience to my reading experience, the body of the book is better written, and Behrendt learnt the valuable maxim “Don’t tell, show.” The stories of Garibooli’s kidnapping from her family in the early 1900s, and the trajectories of her children and grandchildren, are diverse, well-informed and emotive without being overly emotional. A recommended book, although I do suspect it was such a successful prize-winner because of a wee bit of white-man guilt. Never mind, at least the awards got more people to read this novel. Enjoy.

Where it came from: Opshop
Time and manner of reading:
Various bed and train reads
Where it went: MM?
Reminds me of/that: Give a book at least 50pp, no matter how much it hurts
Who I’d recommend it to:

Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman; Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf