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Every Secret Thing

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  48 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
When culture and faith collide . . . nothing is sacred

In the Aboriginal missions of far northern Australia, it was a battle between saving souls and saving traditional culture.

Every Secret Thing is a rough, tough, hilarious portrayal of the Bush Mob and the Mission Mob, and the hapless clergy trying to convert them. In these tales, everyone is fair game.

At once playful and
Paperback, 184 pages
Published August 31st 2009 by UQP
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Jan 19, 2015 Jo rated it really liked it
I intended to read this book for the 2015 Australian Women Writers challenge, but as I realised I had read it before, that was not to be.

However, in the spirit of the challenge - and because it is a must-read, and excellent with it - I figured a review would still be worth writing.

Every Secret Thing is written as an account, told by anecdote, of the development of the relationship between the bush mob and the mission mob - the latter have set up the mission somewhere in northern Australia, not t
Sep 22, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
It's a long time since I have read a book that can be so hilariously funny and yet soberingly sad, all within the space of a couple of lines.

Essentially this book is a series of short stories that expose the impact white missionaries had on traditional Aboriginal life in a remote Northern Territory island community. The issues are confronting, but laced with genuine laugh out loud humour, which Marie Munkara cleverly utilises to both entertain, and to sugar-coat some of the shocking human right
Cass Moriarty
Jul 20, 2016 Cass Moriarty rated it liked it
Marie Munkara will be the featured author at June's Avid Reader Bookshop and Cafe Sunday Big Breakfast Bookclub with her new book Ashes and Rivers That Run to the Sea, but before I delve into that one, I wanted to read her debut novel Every Secret Thing, which won the 2008 David Unaipon Award and was published by UQP. I devoured this bold book in one sitting. Every Secret Thing is confronting and thought-provoking, but also bitingly funny in places, and heart-wrenchingly sad in others. It tells ...more
Alison Dellit
Look, I just didn't connect with this book: which given the importance of the topic, and the still-far-too-rare experience of having Indigenous voices telling Indigenous stories, was a little disappointing. This is largely, I suspect, a humour style question.
The style - one heavily featuring caricature and a faux simple storytelling voice - has never been a favourite of mine (I loath skit and sketch shows, yes, even Monty Python ones), and in this case, the voices of almost all the characters -
EVERY SECRET THING was a hard book for me to read because being a Northern Territorian I knew how much of it was based on truth. In an interview Marie revealed that although she changed names many of the stories in the book are based on real tales her uncles and aunties told her; Marie herself is a stolen generation child.

“…And although many people have said that my book Every Secret Thing is profoundly political, I still have difficulty seeing it that way because the issues in the book, like t
Sep 03, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Every Secret Thing is a collection of tales of the Bush Mob and the Mission Mob in Arnhemland, beginning in the early days of missionary activity when the indigenous people did not recognise the threat to their culture. As Munkara tells it, based on the recollection of her friends and family, the Bush Mob initially found the Mission Mob comic, and they thought that they could continue to evade any impact on their way of life by taking only what they wanted from the interlopers. In one ribald, mo ...more
This wasn't the book I was expecting it to be, but that was because of my personal experience of North East Arnhem Land. And as I thought about it, perhaps all the love for Bapa Sheppy is like the "love" that the Bush Mob had for Fr Macredie in Every Secret Thing. (I don't think it was, but having read this book, I can't discount the possibility.)

Because it wasn't what I expected, I struggled a little initially with the book. But it's written in such an awesome way, this layer of humor covering
Gill Ireland
Aug 08, 2015 Gill Ireland rated it really liked it
Every secret thing was a book club read which I would never have picked off the shelf. When I looked at the cover thought “Yeah right…another must read that will be edifying and politically correct - but predictable.” How wrong was that first impression? Slap the forehead! Never judge a book by its cover!
What a witty tongue in cheek rendition that kept me laughing, emphathising and cringing from the first page.
Such a little book connected by poignant little stories with exceptional insight that
Oct 21, 2011 Chloe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uni-books
I have such respect for Marie Munkara. Her book made me laugh so many times, and yet at the end of each short story a sobering fact about the colonisation of Australia would stick with me [and I don't believe I can, or want to, shake it off]. Unlike David Malouf or Thomas Kenneally [who are ironically white Australian writers], Marie doesn't represent Indigenous Australians as victims, but as strong survivors. Also, unlike most white Australian authors writing about Aborigines, Marie does not lo ...more
Fatema Johera Ahmed
Apr 21, 2016 Fatema Johera Ahmed rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written narrative that traces the changes in the Australian landscape through the interaction of the mission mob and the bush mob. Munkara relies on humour to convey both the helplessness of the indigenous population as well as the routes they sometimes took to undermine their indoctrination.
Aug 21, 2012 Melzasaurus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-uni
Required reading for my creative writing unit, just blown away by how wonderful this book is. Definitely my favourite of the 7 set books, Munkara's voice is clean and strong, using a gentle humour to shed light on an indigenous perpsective of Australia's stolen generation, and the christian missions determined to turn the 'bush mob' into decent, god-fearing folk. Read it. Read it now.

PS Mira is my favourite story, so much heart and so much sting.
Hilarious and devastating.
Apr 02, 2014 Mandy rated it really liked it
So funny, yet painfully sad at the same time.
Jul 03, 2012 Lindy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - it takes you inside 'wicked' Aboriginal humour. Winner of the 2008 David Unaipon Award.
Katherine Thompson
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