Imatge de l'autor

Melissa Lucashenko

Autor/a de Too Much Lip

11+ obres 422 Membres 24 Ressenyes

Sobre l'autor

Crèdit de la imatge: from author's website

Obres de Melissa Lucashenko

Too Much Lip (2018) 229 exemplars
Mullumbimby (2013) 99 exemplars
Edenglassie (2023) 39 exemplars
Hard Yards (1999) 13 exemplars
Killing Darcy (1998) 11 exemplars
Too flash (2002) 6 exemplars
Celle qui parle aux corbeaux (2023) 1 exemplars

Obres associades

Citrus County (2008) — Col·laborador — 288 exemplars
McSweeney's Issue 41 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern) (2012) — Col·laborador — 76 exemplars
Macquarie Pen Anthology of Aboriginal Literature (2008) — Col·laborador — 57 exemplars
Without Reservation: Indigenous Erotica (2003) — Col·laborador — 25 exemplars
The Best Australian Essays 2010 (2010) — Col·laborador — 23 exemplars
Skins: Contemporary Indigenous Writing (2000) — Col·laborador — 19 exemplars
Flock (2021) — Col·laborador — 17 exemplars
The Best Australian Stories 2017 (2017) — Col·laborador — 13 exemplars
The Knowledge Solution: Politics (2018) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars

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"For the straight world, crime was a problem or an abstraction, but for people like her, crime was the solution. Not that she called it crime: she called it reparations."

Grimly funny and vividly captured, Too Much Lip is also violent, hostile, filthy, and generally unpleasant - and Melissa Lucashenko's ability to portray all of these is what makes the novel so good.

Kerry, a thirtysomething from the city, returns to her family's small town with a backpack of questionably-earned money, bittersweet memories of an ex-girlfriend now behind bars, and outstanding warrants for possession and assaulting police. She's here for the funeral of her grandfather, and finds herself dragged back into the lives of her extended family. And, boy, are they a mess. Her mum's a moderately-functioning alcoholic, her nephew's an anorexic socially-isolated gamer, one of her brothers is navigating the family welfare system as he raises two troubled foster kids while her other brother is, well, a dangerous wreck. Tensions simmer - tension with each other, with their collective history, with the town around them, with their place in the broader country - and there's a constant sense of loss, felt most palpably through Kerry's older sister, missing for almost twenty years. And, on top of all of this, developers in league with the town's possibly corrupt mayor are planning to build on the Aboriginal ancestral lands of Kerry's people.

I would say things have been better for them, but the reality is they probably haven't been.

This novel is quintessentially Australian, although it's an Australia with which I have no familiarity. Every page rang true even as I turned away in horror at the idea that anyone could live like this. Lucashenko makes generous use of Australian working-class vernacular ("You chuck the snooze button on then. But I'll be back dreckly to haul ya skinny black mooya over there") as well as Indigenous terms local to her people, creating a vibrant spirit-of-place to which the reader must adapt as they go. She captures the heady mix of emotions that inform Kerry's life: freedom from having rejected much of the (heteronormative, Anglo) culture around her yet daily fear from living on the run and being a black woman in a world that often resents that fact. In lesser hands, this kind of "vernacular novel" can be easily tiring -indeed, for the first 10 pages, I thought it might be the case. This is very much "not my kind of book". And then Lucashenko's prose just took me in its grasp and refused to let go.

In many ways, Too Much Lip is a novel about violence. The author notes in the afterword that every act of violence in the book has an historical source, most from her own family, and the role of violence in the everyday lives of people - particularly Indigenous people - looms large. It's a truly shocking feeling, only about 15 pages into the novel, when Kerry is reunited with her brother Ken. He's her brother, and he lives with her mum, but she finds herself wondering how much he's had to drink and how honest she can be with him before he would start hitting her. Despite some shocking acts against one another, this family treats them as everyday occurrences. Frustrating, true, but mundane. And Lucashenko lets no-one off lightly. The violence is partly the fault of the individual: characters in the novel squabble over why children who face the same traumas can turn out so different. The violence is partly cultural: their Indigenous heritage is heavily gendered, too keen to let men off the hook for "being men", and too willing to forgive horrific crimes while rejecting those who try to expose such. But, of course, much of the violence is intergenerational and related to colonialism. The oppressive experience that the Salters face of being intensely policed - both literally and figuratively - for acts that would earn white people a reprimand, if that. I can't completely understand this experience, of course, but I imagine it feels like running a race only to realise that everyone else is sprinting ahead while your lane contains potholes, dangerous animals, and the occasional brick wall.

The remarkable thing, though, is that the book never once feels didactic. Much of what I have mentioned above is only glanced at, or discussed during late-night drinking sessions. Lucashenko doesn't need to preach because the facts of life speak for themselves. And her control over the proceedings is supreme. A clever twist halfway through the novel upends Kerry's view of the world, and the revelations that follow - which should be melodramatic or even a bit ridiculous - feel earnest and natural every step of the way.

If I were to quibble, one might argue that the good white guy and the bad white guy in the story are both one-dimensional, but I suspect that's part of the point. Lucashenko is turning the tables on the one-dimensional "token" black characters who have populated Australian stories over the past century - and, anyhow, I know a few Buckleys and a few Steves, so perhaps it's not weird after all. Perhaps I would have appreciated a glossary of Indigenous terms. Fair enough, the author is asking us to inhabit her space, and she doesn't - nor should she - feel compelled to write a book on white people's terms. Still, though, while I think white people like myself need to enter a lot more of these spaces on their terms, it wouldn't hurt to open the door a little wider in some circumstances.

I think any Australian should give this one a go (non-Australians might actually find this impenetrable, being so vernacular-based) and be prepared to leave one's preconceptions at the door. This novel will make you feel angry, perhaps guilty, perhaps personally attacked. But it's worth it.
… (més)
 
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therebelprince | Hi ha 15 ressenyes més | Apr 21, 2024 |
A very good read, though one I am unlikely to have undertaken had I not heard an extended interview on Radio National with the author as to the book. My reluctance stemmed from my not having to 'get into' the earlier, Miles Franklin Literary Award Winner 'Too Much Lip' by the same author.

This flips between present day Brisbane and its early years, when the colony and as importantly the First nations Peoples of the area and its surrounds were still working out how 9and whether) they were to live together.

The contrast between colonists and First Nations Peoples was cleverly mimicked by present day interactions between different peoples occupying modern Brisbane.

There is no fairy story resolution, either then or in the present, but the wisdom of (indigenous) Granny Eddie is one of the more uplifting (but not sugar coated) views of a way forward.

Highly recommended.

I will now have to go back to Too Much Lip!


Big Ship

8 April 2024
… (més)
 
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bigship | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Apr 8, 2024 |
This was an interesting perspective on both modern Australia and the early colonisation of that country. I can respect the research that went into the historical section. I enjoyed the relationship's crafted between Mulanyin and his adoptive tribe and their mode of living, which I found informative. However, I struggled to like Winona of contemporary times, her aggressive stance and language. As much as I can understand her anger on behalf of her forbears, she lacked the dignity of the true star, her grandmother, Eddie.… (més)
 
Marcat
HelenBaker | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Jan 6, 2024 |

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Estadístiques

Obres
11
També de
9
Membres
422
Popularitat
#57,804
Valoració
3.9
Ressenyes
24
ISBN
34
Llengües
1

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