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  • A phenomenal debut novel by a talented author

    Nardi Simpson's debut novel is elegiac, evocative and mystical, its narrative skilfully interwoven with its Yuwaalaraay country setting, exploring layers of significance in the river plain landscape. Song of the Crocodile is a multi-generational epic following the experiences of the extended Billymil family, as their ancestor spirits watch over them, their surrounding landscape internalising their memories, both happy and sorrowful. This is a book is not a quick read, but warrants slower absorption and reflection. I still feel like a lot went way over my head, and intend to return to read it a second time before too long. It’s a moving and evocative novel, with lyrical prose and well-developed indigenous characters. The frequent use of Yuwaalaraay language and the extensive incorporation of local folklore added complexity to the narrative, adding mystery, magic and fatalism to the story. I'm expecting to see it feature in many awards lists over coming months. Trigger warnings: child sexual abuse, frequent depictions of racism, violence My thanks to the author, Nardi Simpson, publisher Hachette Australia and NetGalley, for the opportunity to read this wonderful book prior to its publication on 29 September 2020.

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