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The swan book by Alexis Wright
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The swan book

by Alexis Wright

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862213,300 (3.19)3

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I'm not sure I can really review this book fairly as I'm pretty sure that a lot of what is going on here passed me by. There's some glorious language, some snippets of blistering satire and the bones of a richly allegorical novel here, but it's swamped by cultural references that I mostly missed, shifts in tone that left me baffled rather than engaged and a kind of stream of conscious approach that overwhelmed me. I got a lot out of Wright's previous book (Carpenteria), but here I think she's kicked it up a notch and left me floundering in her wake. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
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Upstairs in my brain, there lives this kind of cut snake virus in its doll's house.
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This book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright's previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning best-seller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale.

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