That Deadman Dance

That Deadman Dance

3.62 (1,378 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.62 (1,378 ratings by Goodreads)

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Throughout Bobby Wabalanginy's young life the ships have been arriving, bringing European settlers to the south coast of Western Australia, where Bobby's people, the Noongar people, have always lived. Bobby, smart, resourceful and eager to please, has befriended the settlers, joining them as they hunt whales, till the land, and work to establish their new colony. He is welcomed into a prosperous white family and eventually finds himself falling in love with the daughter, Christine.

But slowly - by design and by hazard - things begin to change. Not everyone is so pleased with the progress of the white colonists. Livestock mysteriously starts to disappear, crops are destroyed, there are 'accidents' and injuries on both sides. As the Europeans impose ever-stricter rules and regulations in order to keep the peace, Bobby's Elders decide they must respond in kind, and Bobby is forced to take sides, inexorably drawn into a series of events that will for ever change the future of his country.

That Deadman Dance is haunted by tragedy, as most stories of first contact between European and native peoples are. But through Bobby's life, this novel exuberantly explores a moment in time when things might have been different, when black and white lived together in amazement rather than fear of the other, and when the world suddenly seemed twice as large and twice as promising.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 153 x 216 x 41mm | 593g
  • Bloomsbury Circus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Trade Paperback.
  • 9781408829288
  • 371,237

Review Text

A haunting, lyrical novel based on the first contact between Europeans and the Noongar people of Western Australia . Scott pays meticulous attention to landscape and nature, and his descriptions are frequently wonderful Financial Times
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Review quote

A haunting, lyrical novel based on the first contact between Europeans and the Noongar people of Western Australia ... Scott pays meticulous attention to landscape and nature, and his descriptions are frequently wonderful * Financial Times * An exercise in lush impressionism ... This is such a moving subject, Scott's research is impeccable, and his story skills are obvious ... Where it truly succeeds is in its glorious descriptions of landscape and wildlife, and the evocation of an ancient and mysterious place that seems to exist outside of time ... Scott, son of a white mother and Aboriginal father, clearly has a message to convey. Through Bobby he speaks of an ideal fellowship and mutual co-operation. In the deadman dance we witness a performance of what might have been, a forlorn hope that is clung to long after the true outcome has become inevitable. Until the final paragraph, which is powerful and quietly devastating, this hope is paramount * Carol Birch, Guardian * An enchanting and authentic book, giving us an insider's view of Australia before it was Australia ... Enormously readable, humane, proud and subtle * Thomas Keneally * Kim Scott's lyrical prose is a pleasure to read, and the classic culture clash story is subtly handled. There's a sense of what could have been between Europeans and Aborigines which gives the novel a tragic feel, but it's the language that makes the story so powerful. That Deadman Dance is an outstanding historical novel by a master writer * We Love This Book * An extraordinary work, both realist and visionary ... Scott's scope is vast and his way of telling complex. Think Melville - never a straight line toward conclusions and perhaps few conclusions. That Deadman Dance is a novel to read, recite, and reread, to linger over as Scott peels back layer after layer of meaning ... Exhilarating * Sydney Morning Herald * In That Deadman Dance, it is the author's imagination and his graceful prose that shine brightest ... Politically charged and historically astute, [the novel] possesses a furious poise and yet is generous in spirit * Australian Book Review *
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About Kim Scott

Kim Scott was born in 1957 to a white mother and Aboriginal father. His first novel, True Country, was published in 1993. His second, Benang: From the Heart, won the Miles Franklin Award, Australia's most prestigious literary prize, in 2000, making Scott the first Aboriginal writer honoured. He has also published short stories and poetry. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and two children.
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Rating details

1,378 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 23% (315)
4 36% (491)
3 27% (368)
2 10% (139)
1 5% (65)
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