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Too Much Lip

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  3,277 ratings  ·  378 reviews
Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an
Paperback, 328 pages
Published July 30th 2018 by University of Queensland Press
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Lynda No I loved it. The truth and the world we don’t fully understand and the idea of some acceptance and possible redemption and karma all coming together…moreNo I loved it. The truth and the world we don’t fully understand and the idea of some acceptance and possible redemption and karma all coming together left me totally satisfied.(less)

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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  3,277 ratings  ·  378 reviews

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Cass Moriarty
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I finished reading Too Much Lip (UQP 2018) by Goorie author Melissa Lucashenko, and have spent yesterday and today fiddling around with this review, adding bits here and there, trying to get it right and not feeling very successful. This is a hard review to write, or rather, it is difficult to express myself in the right way.
This book is good. Very good. It is an unflinching, raw and honest exploration of one modern-day (fictional) Aboriginal family, with all its flaws and problems. But it
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
Winner of the Miles Franklin award 2019!!! So well deserved.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
The blue eyes of the bogans widen in surprise. They don’t see too many black chick’s on Harley’s around here. Kerry has just ridden three hours from Brisbane across the border to the town of Patterson in Durrongo to pay her dying Pop a final visit.

The Salter family have never forgiven Kerry for leaving to live with the white fella’s in the big city a year ago. Kerry’s Mother livid that she has not bothered to contact them once since leaving. To her, no matter what happens, Kerry will always be t
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Talking crows, a spirit guide shark, tarot cards, and dreaming are all packed into this tale of redemption. Kerry, Black Superman, and other Salters have their reasons for flight. Flight as in a movement away from your home and family. They want to try out their wings and feel the winds of freedom on their backs. At first it is so exhilarating- simply being so full of energy and finding new sources of inspiration. They want to escape from and forget the bad times and create new homes. In that fl ...more
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Brilliant, fierce, brutal, and funny. Too Much Lip focuses on the lives, loves and struggles of a Goorie family in the wake of a death in the family and the looming threat of 'redevelopment' of a sacred site.

The most vivid portrait of contemporary Indigenous experience I have read to date, Lucashenko weaves land rights struggles, inter-generational trauma, the legacy of the Stolen Generation, institutional racism, sexuality, and so much more into a narrative with so many laters.

But above all, t
Michael Livingston
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A brilliant portrait of trauma, dysfunction, resilience and strength. Lucashenko writes about tough people who've had tough lives and brings a sharp, funny eye to difficult topics.

(Read this a second time for bookclub and loved it just as much)
Mar 01, 2019 marked it as abandoned-on-hold
Objectively I think this is promising but for whatever reason at this point in time I am struggling to pick it up each day. The diagnosis might be a mini reading slump and so it would be best to move onto something else and hopefully return to it later.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should have won the Stella Prize!!!!
""They not really racist, they nice enough. S'not their fault they got no culture," Pretty Mary said, magnanimous towards whitefellas as she had never been towards her daughter." ~p.52
This was great, although it won't appeal to every reader.
Gutsy Bundjalung woman Kerry Salter rides home on a stolen Harley to the (fictional) town of Durrongo in northern NSW for an overdue visit to her grandfather, who's dying of cancer. Her girlfriend is starting a long stretch in prison for a robbery gone wrong
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Checking off another of the #2019StellaPrize shortlisted reads ahead of the winner being announced next week.

I’m so pleased I finally got to read one of Melissa Lucashenko’s works - she is a highly acclaimed Indigenous Australian author, Too Much Lip being her latest release.

In this narrative we follow Kerry, and the complexities of her family and romantic relationships that are evoked following the death of her grandfather and the onset of a land rights dispute. A missing sibling that is presum
This is a gutsy book. The story revolves around an Aboriginal family living in a fictional community on the mid north coast of NSW. Kerry is the main character who is fleeing from a string of warrants and of a lover who she abandoned during a botched robbery. She returns to her old home where her grandfather is dying. Her family are proud Aboriginals but there is plenty of domestic violence, anger, alcoholism and other gritty family secrets.
These people live on the edge of the law and rely on th
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
As Bundjalung woman Melissa Lucashenko’s latest novel Too Much Lip draws towards its climax, Black Superman counsels his sister not to abandon her family. And he says these words that are a metaphor for unfinished business in Australian Indigenous affairs:
‘Thing is, you run now, after last night, and it’ll haunt you forever. You can go as far away as you like, but the past always comes along for the ride.’ (p.255)

As I write this, events in Canberra are drawing to a climax too, and it’s possible
Sherry Mackay
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Not sure what to say about this one. I loved her previous book mullumbimby but this one took me a very long time to warm up to-
In fact only in the last few pages did I like it. The author is indigenous so I guess she is allowed to speak harshly of her own people. Me being white would not be allowed to do so. She gives us a really brutal insight into indigenous Australian culture, nothing spared. These characters are not particularly nice or charming or honest - the protagonist is a thief for a s
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a raw and unadulterated depiction of the ongoing impact of colonialism and dispossession of Indigenous people in Australia. Whilst that might sound heavy Lucashenko does a great job of using her narrative, a dose of humour and a cast of flawed but lovable characters to show us the real and ongoing trauma. The incorporation of Bundjalung language and slang makes the writing fresh and unique. This is a book that all Australians should read and also anyone wanting an insight into contempora ...more
Lucia Boxelaar
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very confronting read. I particularly appreciated Lucashenko’s powerful use of language to portray the key characters in this Aboriginal family and their ongoing - often violent - struggle to carve out their lives, to maintain their connection with the land, and with each other. The book shows how the daily lives of this family - particularly the women - continue to be shaped by our colonial history of violence, dispossession, stolen children, etc. I hope many people get to read this book.
Lesley Knight
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great walloper of a read! Confronting and funny. Loved the lingo and hats off and shiny stars to the surviving Salter family.
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions.’

Kerry Salter heads home. She cannot avoid it now: her Pop is dying. She heads home on a shiny new Harley-Davidson Softail. Her first conversation is with three crows: one bites a dead snake on the head, and its fangs wedge the bird’s beak shut. Kerry feels ‘certain the crow was going to spend several hideous days before starvation claimed it. But he hadn’t ridden three hours
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Too Much Lip is both a raw and evocative, yet somehow tender, story of a thoroughly dysfunctional family who grapple with issues of trauma, culture, history and identity. Lucashenko is a masterful writer, and her characters seemed so authentic. This is Australian fiction at its finest.
Rachael (shereadsshenoms)
I timed reading Too Much Lip over the Invasion Day / Australia Day long weekend, for extra poignancy, I think.

Lucashenko has written a no holds barred account of the lives of the fictional Salter family. With flawed characters and a family on the brink of implosion and an uncomfortable depiction of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, this book confronts you from the get go.

Crime. Violence. Alcoholism. Child abuse. Intergenerational trauma. The ongoing effects of colonisation. Harsh
Rashida Murphy
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"They say every child grows up in a different version of the same family." This statement by Kerry Salter, the protagonist of Melissa Lucashenko's latest novel, is one among several 'truths' good fiction delivers. And this is truth telling as fiction at its best. Tough, grim, darkly funny, this novel ought to become required reading in university English courses. The writer is a contemporary Bundjalung woman telling the story of colonialism and its aftermath through the lives of Aboriginal men, ...more
Reannon Bowen
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it
In really loved Mullumbimby but I just could not get in to this one. For 200 pages, every time I picked it up I wanted the story to suck me in but it never did. In the end I kept going because I wanted to know what the hype was about. By the end I liked the story a bit more but nowhere near as much as Mullumbimby.
3/5 stars

Melissa Lucashenko's Too Much Lip is not a bad book, but it isn't for me. This novel took me a lot longer to read than I think it should have because I didn't enjoy reading it all that much. I think the main reason for that is the fact that this novel has no central plot, and not much of a plot structure. It does have a plot (things happen), and it has a plot structure (i.e. a prologue and it's divided into two parts), but the throughline of the book is really Kerry, by which I mean tha
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia, race, fiction
This was my most anticipated book of 2018, one I pre-ordered as soon I knew it existed and saved until I was on leave and could read as long as I wanted, to enjoy. I was aware I was setting up a far-too-high bar, which would almost inevitably ruin my experience. So when I say this book is extraordinary, something so much more than I could have expected (and nothing like what I did), I'm not grading on a curve.
Lucashenko's trademark smart-arse, dramedy style is well on display here. Her protagoni
Freya Marske
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Absolutely fantastic Aussie novel - the voice is strong and hilarious, the characters perfectly painted. It's got some very heavy, very angry and very smart things to say about the tragedy of intergenerational trauma and Australian Indigenous identity and how families can fuck one another up, but it's also just plain rollicking, and I adore the protagonist and her unapologetic personality. I'd have liked the narrative to decide whether it was close-third or distant-third and stop vacillating bet ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ok, so I went overdue for the first time at the Melbourne Library Service [sorry!] because I was NOT going to give it up before I finished it. Amazing story of a life that most city dwelling Australians are too ignorant of - outback towns full of rednecks & the indigenous people who are forced to live alongside them. ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kerry, an Indigenous woman, has spent a lifetime running away from her family, but with gaol looming and her grandfather dying, she returns home for a visit - but family and her hometown have a way of bringing her back to earth. While the town Kerry grew up in is fictional, it is set in an area I'm familiar with and reminded me of the small town insularity and deep rooted local corruption. The legacy of colonialism, the Stolen Generations and police brutality have left deep scars in her Kerry's ...more
It was not until I read the Afterword of Melissa Lucashenko 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award winning novel that I realised that this raw, disturbing but at times amusing novel is in fact based on events that she has witnessed or being a part of “... I would add that virtually every incidence of violence in these pages has occurred within my extended family at least once.” p 419 There are violent episodes aplenty in the novel as well as discussion about a plethora of modern day maladies suc ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I have so many conflicting feelings about this book. I mean, firstly, this is a fantastic look at the modern indigenous australian family with all that encompasses, trauma, racism, dispossession, addiction, violence and a deep, living connection to land. The relationships between each family member are layered and complex and fascinating. This is a novel about a family and therein lies my first issue. The first half of this book reflects the blurb as a book about Kerry Salter with occasionally s ...more
Kate Stewart
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book slowly, to savour every delicious word. The writing is hilariously funny, the main character Kerry just crackles with life, and just after Lucashenko has you snorting with laughter, she takes you visiting into a darker place. I could say truthfully that this is an examination of the effects of intergenerational trauma and continuing white brutality. I could also say that it opened my eyes to approaching an understanding of what it must be like to live on country where your famil ...more
Tom Evans
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Winner of the Miles Franklin Award 2019, Too Much Lip is an important novel for Australian literature. Lucashenko leaves nothing to the imagination as she presents a raw and polemic story of an Aboriginal family that has been torn apart and is desperately trying to piece themselves together. A social commentary on sexual assualt, violence, stolen generations, and more, Lucashenko is nuanced in her depiction, yet still provides a compelling story that is suspenseful and easily accessible. The onl ...more
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Melissa Lucashenko is an Australian writer of European and Goorie heritage. She received an honours degree in public policy from Griffith University in 1990. In 1997, she published her first novel Steam Pigs. It won the Dobbie Literary Award for Australian women’s fiction and was shortlisted for both the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Steam P ...more

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“Into the river that was about to be stolen away again, as it always had been since Captain James Nunne Esq. first rode up with his troopers, one two three, crying I’ll have that, and that, oh, and that too, while I’m at it.” 0 likes
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