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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  33 reviews
A collective memoir of one of Aboriginal Australia’s most charismatic leaders and an epic portrait of a period in the life of a country, reminiscent in its scale and intimacy of the work of Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Svetlana Alexievich.

Miles Franklin Award-winning novelist Alexis Wright returns to non-fiction in her new book, Tracker, a collective memoir of the ch
Paperback, 650 pages
Published November 2017 by Giramondo (first published October 30th 2017)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Michael Livingston
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This mammoth tribute to Tracker Tilmouth weaves together stories from dozens of people who knew and worked with him during his lifelong work to improve the lives of Aboriginal Australians. The stories paint a complex portrait of a fascinating man. They also brought home how little actual detail I knew about issues of land rights and community development in remote Australia - Tilmouth's philosophical arguments about the ways forward are compelling. I missed some sort of more personal perspective ...more
Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins
I've posted my full review of Tracker on Keeping Up With The Penguins.

How do you go about writing the autobiography of a man who was larger than life? The short answer is, you don’t. Tracker is not neat, linear life story told in a single voice. Rather, it is a “collective memoir”, drawing upon the ancient traditions of oral histories, whereby one man’s incredible life is related through the stories of dozens of people. Alexis Wright is not a narrator, but a collaborator, bringing together frien
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘A Western-style biography would never do for Tracker.’

‘Tracker’ is a biography of Tracker Tilmouth (1954-2015). It’s no standard, linear biography. Instead Alexis Wright has composed a collective memoir, drawing on interviews with Tracker as well as with family, friends and colleagues. It’s a life recounted in a series of stories, of reminiscences. I started reading the book knowing a little about Tracker Tilmouth, I finished the book wanting to know more.

Tracker Tilmouth was born in central A
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF ( I read about half). I really wanted to like this book and for the first quarter I did. The anecdotes, conversational style and different narrators complemented the rugged, gregarious, passionate character I was beginning to admire.
Unfortunately the book lost me from this point. It began to get very repetitive and bogged down in all of the issues that surround the indigenous movement. I wanted the stories about Tracker (the biography) not a blow by blow account of every event that occurred
Anna Baillie-Karas
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A collective biography of Tracker Tilmouth, who was a prominent Aboriginal leader and larger-than-life character. I was keen to read Alexis Wright, but her skill here is collating the stories, not her own writing. Factual & disorientating to read, stories repeat & circle around issues - a different way of getting to the heart of the matter, true to the story-tellers’ culture & I respect her approach, but I struggled with it. Fascinating but tough. ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating read into a larger than life man who devoted his life to the cause of his people. I learnt so much about Aboriginal land rights vs. native title and the perspectives of a wide range of people involved in Aboriginal affairs across the decades really painted a thorough picture of what has been happening. There were also a lot of amusing stories of how Tracker did business whilst delivering some home truths about the ways Aboriginal Australians have been treated since coloniz ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had trouble finishing this book, not because i wasn’t enjoying it, but because it was demanded a lot of thinking - and I had borrowed it on Overdrive. I had to return it before I’d finished and then wait for it to become available again.

Reading it was a new experience - absorbing a narrative as it emerged from a variety of telling and perspectives. Every chapter, every event is built up in the reader’s mind like an oral virtual reality experience. It is, or course, written, but so much of it i
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
An epic, fun, interesting read. While it is a story of Tracker Tilmouth's life, and all that influences him, the nature of the story tellers mean it is mostly a story of Tracker's work, and Australian politics, Aboriginal issues, and Native Title more broadly. Loads of material in here relevant to my research, and lots of quotes making their way into my next few lectures too... this link in to my own work meant I couldn't really lose myself in the story but it was such a good book anyways!
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every so often a book comes along which makes me wish I had more stars than five: the kind of reading experience that leaves you different. The frustrating thing is, I'm not sure how to articulate what it is about Tracker that is so good. I want to describe it as intensely intellectual: but that risks giving the impression that the sentences are hard to understand, when the opposite is true. Wright's narrators speak in the various patterns of Australia, mixing bombast and laconic humour. At time ...more
James Whitmore
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this a powerful and challenging book. Tracker is a biography of Tracker Tilmouth, who was born in central Australia in 1954, and died in 2015. His family was split when he was about 4 years old, and him and two of his brothers were taken to an island mission north of Darwin. He later returned to central Australia, as an agricultural economist, working with various Aboriginal institutions. He was never a politician, and often worked behind the scenes wheeling and dealing. But this book de ...more
Nov 22, 2018 added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
up to page 106 (return to library)
Janine Gertz
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Read this book if you’re interested in Aboriginal Economic Development and Self-Determination.
Fiona Saunders
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I have finished this epic insightful look at who this awsome aboriginal person a saw on TV s few times was. I did find the book hard going in the density, issues and the real insight going on with Native Title and the raw deal that our first Australians have been dealt and in large part have accepted. That made me feel guilty amd ashamed. I found it sad that the ideas Tracker had most never saw the light, if they did the world would be changed for the better. It took abit to get into
Belinda Badman
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I have to admit defeat. It’s taken me 10 months to read 300 pages and I’m not even halfway! As others have already mentioned, the style of having multiple people telling the story of Tracker results in a lot of repetition which I just don’t have time or interest for. Also I haven’t found anything in the description of Tracker himself which makes me want to read more about him. So far my impression of him is of a misogynistic bully. I gave this a really good go but just cannot continue.
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Tracker by Alexis Wright is this year's Stella Prize winner. A collective memoir of the legendary Tracker Tilmouth, this epic read tells of everything from Tracker's childhood removed from his family and brought up on a mission to the charismatic Aboriginal leader running around federal parliament winding up all the politicians. A forward thinking advocate for the self-determination of Aboriginal people Tracker was controversial and explosive. Wright has used interviews from Tracker and his fami ...more
Alexandra Rose
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the few memoirs/biographies/autobiographies I’ve read where I have desperately wished I had gotten to meet the subject thereof. I’ve never read anything like this before, and I believe it’s highly necessary reading for anyone wanting to live purposefully within the still tumultuous space of Australia.
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
A big read told as stories by Tracker (Leigh 'Bruce' Tilmouth) and by the many who knew him. Wright has woven the transcribed conversations to give a chronological account of Tracker's life. This method of delivering a biography is unique and effective. Tracker's bigger than life quality comes through and can overwhelm at times, and the book is a large read at over 600 pages, so is best read slowly. There is much to absorb about Tracker's life that aids understanding of many issues. These issues ...more
To read my review of this book up to about page 250, please see
(I finished reading it a few days after the book won the Stella Prize. I think now that I'd read the best of it at the time I wrote the review, reading the ins and outs of Aboriginal politics is rather draining and at times I nearly decided not to finish it.)
Every Australian should read this book.
I have had to buy my own copy as I am half way through and have to return this copy to the public library.
This is a powerful book about a man who died too early but who achieved so much. Alexis Wright has revealed the man through his own words and through the eyes and words of those who knew him well.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Fascinating insight into a charismatic and magnetic character. Could almost be a business or political strategy book in a way. The huge number of people telling their stories from their perspectives gave a 360 view of Tracker the person, the strategist and the political, economic, social and environmental context that he worked in. Authentic and genuine, cunning and searingly clever.
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Really enjoyed the first quarter describing Tracker’s childhood and adolescence. The rest got very repetitive, especially all the people giving a slightly different perspective on the same events. Having said that I think it’s an important and worthwhile read.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Narrative sounds like the flow of casual talk
campfire yarns…and in my opinion no great craft.


Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Didn’t finish.
Em Eff
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Great book, but could've halved the size. Felt far too long for the content.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Really interesting structure of collective biography, in line with commentary about Indigenous women’s life writing being about community rather than individual lives. Noticed there are hardly any women interviewees, or even many in Tracker’s life according to this version, and an emphasis on the political life rather than the personal. The rare page of women commenting was about his misogyny. Particularly interesting reading this history of around Alice Springs at the time I was growing up ther ...more
Georgia Alexander
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Utilises the time-old technique of storytelling to give a glimpse of a huge life that was sadly short-lived. Told by those who knew him best, it's a fantastic book that speaks of not just the life, but the visions, tragedies, and mischief of a life well lived.
Ally Van Schilt
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This was nowhere near the arduous slog I thought it was going to be - I was pleasantly surprised at how readable it was! In spite of its length and, at times, complicated political nature, it was engaging and well written that it maintained any readers’ interest.
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great read. Like other books I've read by Alexis Wright, takes me right out of my usual reading zone, and usual thinking zone. Didn't know anything about Tracker Tilmouth before I read this, now I want to know more. Also want to read more about economic sustainability in the outback.
Elizabeth Smith
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was very interesting, although I found it hard to read.
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Alexis Wright is from the Waanji people from the highlands of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria. Her acclaimed first novel Plains of Promise was published in 1997 by University of Queensland Press and was shortlisted in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, The Age Book of the Year, and the NSW Premier's Awards. The novel has been translated into French.

Alexis has published award-winning short stories a

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