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3.71  ·  Rating details ·  531 ratings  ·  109 reviews
From the two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Award

From Kim Scott, two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, comes a work charged with ambition and poetry, in equal parts brutal, mysterious and idealistic, about a young woman cast into a drama that has been playing for over two hundred years ...

Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural South-West
Paperback, 287 pages
Published July 25th 2017 by Picador
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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  531 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is something urgent and dreamy in the way that Scott writes. He entwines the emotional lives of his characters with their natural surroundings in telling the tale of a past atrocity and the lives that have emerged from that.

As a community gathers together for rehabilitation, reconciliation and literally to learn how to connect back to their roots, their stories and their traditions, the mystery of the Taboo is revealed. We move back and forth through time and learn about how characters ha
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this for bookclub. The writing is poetic, the story engaging and the setting and central issues/themes so relevant to Australia today. I can see this novel becoming a text some schools will use for their students. Intriguing and thought
provoking discussion from this story.
Michael Livingston
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A sad, funny and eventually hopeful story about a group of Noongar people returning to their lands a century or so after a massacre. Scott is preoccupied with language and particularly with efforts to revive the Noongar language - the cultural connections forged by language and practices help to heal a community deeply damaged by colonisation and its after-effects (especially drugs and alcohol). The writing style took a while to work its way into my brain, but once I devoted some decent chunks o ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a read; brutal, bleak, but also brilliant.

Kim Scott is an indigenous Australian writer and the story he has written is about the Noongar Aboriginal people of Western Australia. Years ago, they were massacred by white settlers on their ancestral lands, and this place has now become taboo to them. Years later, the descendants come together with hopes of making amends, and for the First People to reconnect with their ancestral lands, bringing their music and language to the area. Sadly, this
Anne Fenn
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I read this while visiting central Australia. It's set in Scott's local area in Western Australia but it seems many of the issues for Indigenous Australians are similar. Main character Tilly, a troubled young girl, reconnects with her family. We see more clearly how kinship works so powerfully to give meaning to her life. Written in beautiful prose, some sharp, sometimes dreamlike, you are immersed in the minds and spirits of many different people. Sensational writing, I hope it gets Scott up fo ...more
Anna Baillie-Karas
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kim Scott writes with the assurance of someone who’s in no rush; it’s pared back, allowing for gaps in what is said, and the characters follow a winding path, stopping to observe the trees, an eagle, tell stories. At times this felt contrived, but it’s a vital history, told without judgment.

It resists being a fast-paced read and instead gives honest characters (like Tilly, a flawed teen & resilient survivor) and an ancient culture. #ownvoices #Australia
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Almost the first thing Kim Scott talked about, when I had the good fortune to meet and have more than a brief chat with him at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards night in 2011, was language…

Australians are getting comfortable with the meaning of the word ‘language’ in Australian Aboriginal English: like ‘country’, it is spoken without an article or a descriptive adjective. ‘Talking in language’ means speaking the indigenous language of a particular place and ‘being on country’ means being o
D.M. Cameron
Wonderful insight to the Indigenous perspective in Australia. I loved the humour and gritty reality of it. Scott tells it like it is...but I also enjoyed the use of magical realism. The scene with Maureen the Aboriginal Support Officer was a classic! I think I need to read everything by Kim Scott now.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kim Scott is a two-time winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award and his latest novel, Taboo, has been shortlisted for this year’s prize.

A descendant of the Noongar people of Western Australia, he is an indigenous writer whose work tends to focus on aboriginal identity and the sometimes strained relations between black and white Australians.

Taboo is no exception. Set in Noongar country, it examines the thorny issue of reconciliation: after so much bloody and violent history, how can white Aus
Dasha M
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Important and powerful.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel quite affected by this. Leaves you with a glow at the end like many a great novel does but there is so much more to it. It's a novel that should be disseminated far and wide. I'm surprised it didn't win the Miles Franklin Prize in 2018 even though it did win a number of other prizes. Looking forward to going back and reading Kim Scott's other novels that have been difficult to start in the past. He is a master at his craft.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Struggled to page 103 (one third of the book) and did not finish. This is only the second book in my lifetime I have not finished. I truly believe in slogging it out just in case the book may improve but this one I could not keep picking up. I'm really disappointed with this book because it has received such good reviews and I purchased eagerly in anticipation. However, after 100 pages, I couldn't keep my focus which was related to 3 issues:
1. The writing is very fragmented. Although incredi
Sharon Lee
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
To read this story is to enter a different reality.

It is a weaving of today's struggle for recognition and social fragmentation; with old ways and language. It is a confronting & honest account of the terrible impact of alcohol and drugs on society. It was a bit confusing at times but in a way this reflected the inner conflict of some of the characters. There is such a strong sense of the spirits being ever present in the characters' lives. I think Tilly is a symbol of hope for her communit
Lauren Deville
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
The premise of the story is compelling and what kept me reading to the end. However, the writing is overly descriptive (yes even for me) and detracts from the story itself. The interweaving of history with Doug and Tilly’s connection is interesting, but underdeveloped. It reads as almost fetishistic in parts rather than a demonstration of oppression being ultimately conquered. I can understand that we need to get a sense of Tilly’s experiences and how they help in turning her into such a powerfu ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The fragmented writing (train of thought and sentence structure) made it difficult to follow what was happening in this book. To some extent I can see purpose in this technique as it is representing a fragmented story of disconnection from place and people, drug taking and tenuous reconnecting but it just went a little to far for me to keep a grip on the story and really immerse myself.
The themes are important and I liked the approach of the various characters trying to find a way forward and he
Natalie M
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly beautiful but sorrowful story. Kim Scott is a master storyteller. His characterisation is honest - you are vividly transported into the lives of each person. The stereotypes are skilfully & aptly used. You feel what it would be like to be on both sides of this story, indigenous or 4th generation settler. Vocabulary, expression, colloquialisms, imagery are excellent! This is not a feel-good, everyone reconciles novel - it’s heart-breaking & authentic. An incredible (some exp ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure what I feel or think about this novel. It’s a complex piece, at times blurring the real world with the spirit, present day memory with historical, satire with the mundane. I often got lost, needing to read and re read and I found it hard to build a solid sense of the characters and the place.
Brona's Books
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Four and half stars
Taboo is contemporary fiction, with not only an Indigenous perspective of our shared history but also with an eye towards our possible shared future. I found it to be an extraordinary feat of compassion, revelation and hope.

After stumbling through the first 50 pages or so, lost and unsure how to proceed, I found a kind of rhythm and sense to the disjointed passages. The jumps and starts started to feel symbolic and purposeful. I then began to see the poetry in the chaos.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, this is a beautifully imagined & written story, with a wonderful cast of characters. The storytelling is so gripping right from the start, and the way that a world and people are painted through what is both said & not said is really spectacular. This book has a lot to say about how we as Australians engage with the darkest parts of our history. BUT I really do not care for the way Scott writes women, young women especially, and this has been a consistent problem for me in all ...more
Meg Collins
My first time reading any of Kim Scott’s work.

The writing is absolutely superb, but the story was not particularly engaging enough. I felt at true distance from the characters, which may have been intentional, but affected my overall reading experience.

It was interesting in that it was surreal and mystical, but I’m not sure it was pulled off in a manner that was cohesive. I was a little confused.

I don’t think I was ready for this book, so I’m
not sure I want to write it off completely. I would
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kim Scott writes beautifully and I thoroughly enjoyed this. Given the subject matter, I was concerned it would have a lousy ending, but Scott manages to write about difficult subjects, and still be uplifting. He also manages not to preach- to present things as they are, without glossing over the more horrifying aspects of our shared WA history.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kim Scott is one of our most important authors, casting light on the richness of Aboriginal traditions and how they are being incorporated into life today. Taboo deals with tough topics meaningfully and with respect.
Ellie Atack
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such an important and beautifully crafted piece of literature. Would recommend every Australian read this. The audiobook is narrated by the author who has a wonderful and engaging narration style.
I didn't finish this. I couldn't concentrate on the story and I just kept getting distracted. So I've pulled the plug
Jade Maree
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was slightly disjointed however told an important story from an important perspective. Very difficult to give a star rating. Worth reading and exploring further.
Kimberley Starr
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
amazing novel that really takes you into the hearts, minds and culture of its Aboriginal characters. Reading it is like. the experience of going on a journey. I understand more about Australia, now.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this one. The first 100 pages was far too slow. Very little happened and the writing did not capture my interest to begin with. The second half was a great improvement, although I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. I will say though, the author does a good job of observing, without judgement.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book to read. I love the use of language, and the whole occasion of a peace park (so gloriously vague) to bring together Noongar people to a former massacre site. Sensitive gender politics and gentle weaving in of violence and addiction and their impact on individuals and communities.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was BORING. My god was it slow paced. Literally nothing happens up until about page 150 then there are a few intersting chapters then it slows down again and then the last 2 chapters are intersting and that's it! The premise of the novel is one we don't see often enough. A look into the lives of Aborigines and the flow on effect of discrimination and ill-treatment. I liked how Scott Portrayed the ignorance of some Australians in regards to Indigineous culture and traditions. The charac ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kim Scott's latest novel is about his own people and the country of his Noongar ancestors. Gerald Coolman is released from jail, intent on preserving the language and culture that he learned about from elders inside. He returns home to find moves afoot among the local community to return to Kepalup, a taboo place due to the massacre that occurred there.

Gerald's niece Tilly was raised white and only learned of her indigenous background when she heard from her dying father Jim, the elder who taugh
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Born in 1957, Kim Scott's ancestral Noongar country is the south-east coast of Western Australia between Gairdner River and Cape Arid. His cultural Elders use the term Wirlomin to refer to their clan, and the Norman Tindale nomenclature identifies people of this area as Wudjari/Koreng.

His novel Taboo won the Victorian premier’s literary award for Indigenous writing in 2019.

His other novels includ
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“Tilly would need a new environment, and good people around her. She had nowhere to go really. They’d seen enough addiction to know coming back to the same didn’t work anyway. But it would be good for her to get back into school somehow, especially since she’d been doing her last years of schooling and was doing alright from all accounts.
“She’s a state ward. You could be her guardian? If she agrees? If we can get her at a boarding school or hostel or something? Then you’d only need to have her here in the holidays, maybe?”
She might get a residential place at one of the boarding schools. Something. If she could rest, if she recovered, if she wanted.
Pg 187”
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