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Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko
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Too Much Lip

by Melissa Lucashenko

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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 that by the time I publish this review, Australia might have a prime minister who boycotted the formal apology to Australia’s Stolen Generations in 2007. The fact that there are adequate numbers of parliamentarians who consider such a man an acceptable candidate is a matter of shame. It is a matter of shame for the party hacks that he continued to be preselected afterwards, and it is a matter of shame that his constituents voted him back in too. I am noting this here because it’s so relevant to the themes of this novel: that Australia needs to face up to, acknowledge, and apologise for its past treatment of its First Nations so that Indigenous people don’t give up on healing and so that our ‘family’ will include all Australians, of all colours, cultures and histories.
Yet while Too Much Lip has a solemn message that needs to be heard, it is often a very funny book. Its central character Kerry is a wise-cracking hoot of a woman. As the story begins she rides into town on her stolen Harley, enjoying being the blackfella du jour for the astounded locals. On the run for her part in a stupid failed armed robbery, she has come home because her Pop is dying, but her homecoming leaves her seething with resentment at the favoured place of sons in her family.
Black Superman, making a success of his life in faraway Sydney, can do no wrong though he visits less often than she does, and her other brother Ken is a violent wastrel who abuses his teenage son. It never ceases to amaze her how men could flap their gums and have absolutely no doubt that women would hang on their every word. That everything coming out of their mouths was pure genius.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/08/24/too-much-lip-by-melissa-lucashenko-bookrevie... ( )
  anzlitlovers | Aug 23, 2018 |
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