The White Earth
William was not yet nine when his ineffectual father was accidentally killed in a fire. His mother, fighting demons of her own, casts him upon the charity of an unknown g ...more
The publicity blurb for this intriguing book touts it as Part family saga, part history and part gothic thriller. This is a pretty accurate description of a grim but compelling story.
The title does not reflect any reality, but rather is a reference to the White family who once owned a large pastoral station, Kuran, on the northern fringes of the Darling Downs, west of Brisbane. With that dynasty long gone, the property is now in the hands of John McIvor, son of the former station manager, D ...more
The book is Motivated by the Mabo Legislation and deals with reactions to this based on ownership of the land and consequences for the property Ownwers. It delves into Aboriginal History and Folklore and makes a very powerful observation about LandRights which I found very thought provoking.
Throughout the book images o ...more
OK finished it now. Way weird attempt at dream-nightmare time Aboriginal sequence before everything burnt ...more
This was an easy (too easy?) read and an ok story although not wholly original - it is often reminiscent of Wuthering Heights or Great Expectations. As a work of literature, this book falls far short of the poetry, originality and grandeur of those works, and instead comes off feeling rather try-hard, self-indulgent, For ...more
I do not care about William or his nasty ear, I do not care about John, the weird gothic house, or the ghosts that haunt Australia. In fact, I may like Australia less having completed this book.
McGahan does well to incorporate reality; the social issues of the time (1992 aka a super pivotal moment in Aussie history), and I appreciate allegory having a BA and pending MA in literature but this was just too much, guys. Sav ...more
The centre of the story is the Native Title Law and what this means to the farmers. As the book is based in Queensland, there are rednecks who see the end of the world coming.
Young William comes to live with his uncle in a ramshackle old mansion from a once grand farming family. The uncle has secrets. The land has secrets. Ther ...more
Some of the issue in this book were interesting and the feelings of revenge were also interesting and seemingly quite human even though they were extreme.
One thing I did find myself thinking with this book is about Parents and ...more
I don't think that I would rush out and read another of his books but it was well thought out, well researched and, living in the Darling Downs region, it was great to read a book based in this area from a writer who grew up here.
I see why it won the Miles Franklin. I didn't realise that McGahan had ascen ...more
Critics describe The White Earth as a neo-Dickensian novel, replete with layered stories, flashbacks, crumbling mansions, family secrets, strange deaths, ghosts, deception, and even a suspicious old housekeeper. Yet they agree that the Australia Will inhabits is far darker than any world Dickens ever depicted. The heart of the novel is a tragic chapter in Australian history: the relocation and genocide of the Aborigines. Though the characters serve as mouthpieces for differing views on the quest...more
This book follows the life of a boy growing up in a large historically significant homestead with his extended - and somewhat unloving - family. He grows, becomes a timber getter and learns a lot about the histroy of the region.
Having lived in a community very similar I found myself constantly readi ...more
The author is good at driving you to read the following chapter.
Whether intended or not, he shows how relationships and histories direct our words and actions, and how easily prejudice can be passed on if you only use the right words. It shows well how people create their own narratives of their lives, even if they are unable to see or understand the entire picture.
William's constant maladies made me feel ill at ease as the descriptions of his throbbing ear pain and headaches incr ...more