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Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y separately published work icon Taboo single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Taboo
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'From Kim Scott, two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, comes a work charged with ambition and poetry, in equal parts brutal, mysterious and idealistic, about a young woman cast into a drama that has been playing for over two hundred years ...

'Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural South-West of Western Australia, and tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar's descendants, of a white man who had stolen a black woman. They come at the invitation of Dan Horton, the elderly owner of the farm on which the massacres unfolded. He hopes that by hosting the group he will satisfy his wife's dying wishes and cleanse some moral stain from the ground on which he and his family have lived for generations.

'But the sins of the past will not be so easily expunged.

'We walk with the ragtag group through this taboo country and note in them glimmers of re-connection with language, lore, country. We learn alongside them how countless generations of Noongar may have lived in ideal rapport with the land. This is a novel of survival and renewal, as much as destruction; and, ultimately, of hope as much as despair.' (Publication summary)

Exhibitions

13619078
17341362
18160522
18005706

Notes

  • To Ryan Brown, ngan ngoon

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Northampton, Massachusetts,
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Small Beer Press ,
      2019 .
      image of person or book cover 1763995410842880911.gif
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 304p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 3 September 2019.

      ISBN: 9781618731692

Other Formats

  • Sound recording.
  • Large print.
  • Dyslexic edition.

Works about this Work

Kim Scott’s Taboo and the Extimacy of Massacre Tony Hughes-d'Aeth , 2021 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , vol. 45 no. 2 2021; (p. 165-180)

'Kim Scott’s novel Taboo (2017) centres on the Kukenarup massacre, which followed the fatal spearing of John Dunn in 1880 on the ancestral lands of the Wirlomin Noongar people. Taboo traces the dynamics of silence that run through the lives of Noongar and settler descendants in the wake of massacre. What the novel underscores is that while a massacre may be located at a particular site and commemorated by public gestures (plaques, memorials and ceremonies), its reality cannot ultimately be separated from the inner lives of the survivors and their descendants. This article argues that the terrain of massacre is shown in Scott’s novel to be quintessentially extimate, a word that Jacques Lacan coined to describe the intimate exterior of psychic reality. As a concept, the extimate helps name the space that is routinely excluded by the deployment of public and private domains in the liberal capitalist order, whereby social suffering is consigned to a privatised interior, and private violence is made banal by empty public utterance.' (Publication abstract)

Affective Narratology, Cultural Memory, and Aboriginal Culture in Kim Scott’s Taboo Francesca Di Blasio , 2021 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Rise of the Australian Neurohumanities : Conversations Between Neurocognitive Research and Australian Literature 2021;

'Indigenous literature has played a vital role in the reconstruction of Australia’s colonial and postcolonial history, contributing to the perspective of those who were dispossessed of their land and culture. The new century has also been generous with captivating voices that have continued and refigured the tradition, giving it new and inexhaustible political and poetic strength. This essay focusses on Kim Scott’s Taboo, a text which gives physical space, and its emotional and collective implications, a central value. This value is preserved in the following pages of the novel where the physicality of places and the materiality of objects have intrinsic emotional value, articulating a real narrative function, capable of catalyzing the forces at play in the text. The evocative vigour of the images endowed with this special ‘materiality’ becomes one of the significant features of the novel, and one of the bases for its poetic power in terms of empathy and healing.'

Source: Abstract.

y separately published work icon Novel Politics : Studies in Australian Political Fiction John Uhr , Shaun Crowe , Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2020 18807115 2020 multi chapter work criticism

'Percy Bysshe Shelley once described poets as the 'unacknowledged legislators of the world'. If this is true, Australian political scientists have shown curiously little interest in the role that literary figures play in the nation's political life.

'Novel Politics takes the relationship between literature and politics seriously, analysing the work of six writers, each the author of a classic text about Australian society. These authors bridge the history of local writing, from pre-Federation colonial Australia (Catherine Spence, Rosa Praed and Catherine Martin) to the contemporary moment (Tim Winton, Christos Tsiolkas and Kim Scott). Novel Politics unpicks the many political threads woven into these books, as they document the social world as it exists, while suggesting new possibilities for the nation's future. As political commentators of a particular kind, all six authors offer unique insights into the deeper roots of politics in Australia, beyond the theatre of parliament and out into the wider social world, as imagined by its dreamers and criticised by its most incisive discontents.'(Publication summary) 

The All-knowing Narrator in Kim Scott’s Taboo Julienne Van Loon , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 14 June 2019;

'Why do we tell stories, and how are they crafted? In this series, we unpick the work of the writer on both page and screen.' (Introduction)

Cultural Revitalization, Trauma, and Healing Chelsey Zibell , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Antipodes , vol. 32 no. 1/2 2018; (p. 317-318)

— Review of Taboo Kim Scott , 2017 single work novel

'Land theft, language suppression, cultural genocide. These forms of abuse are the historical background that feature in the story of Taboo, the latest work of fiction by the writer Kim Scott. Taboo is a story of trauma, decolonization, and healing. The main character, Tilly Coolman, must reconcile her recent discovery about her Noongar Aboriginal roots as she meets her biological father and his family, along with healing from horrific abuse from the people closest to her. Additionally, the novel draws attention to the descendants of white settlers who attempt to address their own culpability. The novel centers around the creation of a "Peace Park" being set up near the site of a massacre in order to bring reconciliation between the Wirlomin Noongar and the white population of the area. The story of Tilly, whose heritage is of mixed Wirlomin Noongar heritage, reflects a long history of abuse suffered by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and by many indigenous groups from colonized countries worldwide.' (Introduction)

Review of Taboo, by Kim Scott, Picador-Australia, 2017 Rashida Murphy , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Landscapes , vol. 8 no. 1 2018;

— Review of Taboo Kim Scott , 2017 single work novel

'Kim Scott's Taboo is a story about beginnings and endings.This novel reminds the reader of the circularity of stories, and how those stories are shaped by intent and weighed by landscape. Scott speaks of dispossession, abuse, colonialism, addiction and racism in lyrical and melancholy prose. The men and women who walk through these pages are startlingly aware of their failings and equally forgiving of those failings in others. There are no quick fixes and the story vacillates between despair and hope. Yet this is not a grim story. The lucidity of its prose lifts it beyond the despair in its pages and reminds us that there are no perfect words and no easy resolutions to the trials of our First Nations people. An important and devastating story for our times.' (Publication abstract)

Cultural Revitalization, Trauma, and Healing Chelsey Zibell , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Antipodes , vol. 32 no. 1/2 2018; (p. 317-318)

— Review of Taboo Kim Scott , 2017 single work novel

'Land theft, language suppression, cultural genocide. These forms of abuse are the historical background that feature in the story of Taboo, the latest work of fiction by the writer Kim Scott. Taboo is a story of trauma, decolonization, and healing. The main character, Tilly Coolman, must reconcile her recent discovery about her Noongar Aboriginal roots as she meets her biological father and his family, along with healing from horrific abuse from the people closest to her. Additionally, the novel draws attention to the descendants of white settlers who attempt to address their own culpability. The novel centers around the creation of a "Peace Park" being set up near the site of a massacre in order to bring reconciliation between the Wirlomin Noongar and the white population of the area. The story of Tilly, whose heritage is of mixed Wirlomin Noongar heritage, reflects a long history of abuse suffered by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and by many indigenous groups from colonized countries worldwide.' (Introduction)

[Review Essay] Taboo KN , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 22-28 July 2017;

'Some of the most exciting, tonally ambitious and uncompromising fiction that has been published in Australia in recent years has come from Aboriginal authors – most notably, the remarkable Waanyi writer Alexis Wright and the extraordinary Noongar writer Kim Scott. A new novel from the multi-award-winning Scott is something to take seriously. '  (Introduction)

Forever Beginning Stephen Romei , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 22 July 2017; (p. 16)
Park/Plaque Tony Hughes-d'Aeth , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 393 2017; (p. 35)

'When a new novel from Kim Scott appears, one feels compelled to talk not only about it as a work of fiction by a leading Australian writer, but also about its cultural significance. In this sense a Kim Scott novel is an event, and Taboo does not disappoint.' (Introduction)

In Search of Another Narrative Shannon Burns , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly Blog , August 2017;

'With ‘Taboo’, Kim Scott sketches out a new way of accepting our histories, and imagining our future.

Humour, Hope Relieve Tensions Rohan Wilson , 2017 single work essay review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 5 August 2017; (p. 18)

'These days the release of a new Kim Scott novel feels like a literary event. It wasn’t always this way. His first two books, True Country (1993) and Benang (1999), established him more as a writer’s writer: a brilliant, if raw, voice calling to us from across the Nullarbor. But with his previous book, the gobsmacking That Deadman Dance (2010), Scott announced himself as the country’s most important novelist.

'It was a book that took a fresh look at Australia’s past. We had the typical scenes of first contact as white settlers arrived in Albany and began to alienate Aboriginal land, yet in Scott’s telling this didn’t devolve into violence.' (Introduction)

Last amended 13 Jul 2021 11:24:20
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