Daisy Bates in the Desert: A Woman's Life Among the Aborigines
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Daisy Bates in the Desert: A Woman's Life Among the Aborigines

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  79 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In 1913, at the age of 54, Daisy Bates went to live in the deserts of South Australia. Brilliantly reviewed, astonishingly original, this "eloquent and illuminating portrait of an extraordinary woman" (New York Times Book Review) tells a fascinating, true story in the tradition of Isak Dinesen and Barry Lopez.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 8th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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Impressionistic biography.
This is a most unusual biography. Daisy Bates was an Irish born Australian who spent time and wrote about the Aborigines. Her various accounts of her life are not consistent and facts difficult to come by. To bridge the gaps in what is know, the author of this book, Julia Blackburn improvises and adds possible narrative and so the book is a hybrid of biography and fiction, but a good story overall told in both first and third person. There are descriptions of the camp that Bates lived at in the...more
Ashland Mystery Oregon
Truth and fiction seem to be scattered through the narrative, a biography of Daisy Bates who spent much of her life living in Australia and with or near the native peoples. Blackburn uses source materials, interviews and personal histories to try and discern the details of Bates' life. Bates held on to her independence against almost overwhelming challenges of governmental regulations, societal expectations and financial insecurity. Perhaps she was mad, or made mad by her experiences and lifesty...more
Sep 27, 2007 Kimber rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like historical fiction
Julia Blackburn is in my opinion one of the most innovative mixers of fact and fiction. Her non-fiction books are her narritive of putting the puzzle together. Because she makes her voice present, it allows the reader to consider their own voice in the story.

The women in this book reminds me a little of my grandmother, a women who has always found interesting ways to ficitionalize her life so that it becomes larger than life.

I don't often read books twice and this one I try to read once a year.
I've had this book for years . . . I wanted to like it, I think Daisy Bates was a fascinating woman who reinvented herself blurring the lines of fact and fiction. I ran out of steam mid way through and had to force myself to finish it. I found Balckburn's biographical account in the early chapters more interesting than her historical fiction of Daisy and the Aborigines.
The narrator got in the way of the story. I did not need to hear her experiences researching, just tell the story. When I finished I still did not have a clear idea of who Daisy Bates was, or what she actually did for the aborigines of Australia. I would have liked more historical info, more facts.
A wonderful book about a very remarkable woman. I enjoyed the author's voice and the way she could describe events in a brief but still evocative manner. For someone who is interested in a biography or travelogue, but not something that is 700 pages, I would recommend this book.
This is an extraordinary book, to be savored, IMO, by anyone who appreciates learning about an indomitable woman who lived her life her own way, as well as anyone with an interest in the Aboriginals of Australia - and what happened to them.
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Julia Blackburn is the author of several other works of nonfiction, including Charles Waterton and The Emperor’s Last Island, and of two novels, The Book of Color and The Leper’s Companions, both of which were short-listed for the Orange Prize. Her most recent book, Old Man Goya, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Blackburn lives in England and Italy.
More about Julia Blackburn...
The Three of Us: A Family Story With Billie: A New Look at the Unforgettable Lady Day The Leper's Companions Old Man Goya The Emperor's Last Island: A Journey to St. Helena

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