'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)
To Ryan Brown, ngan ngoon
'Over the past three decades the Miles Franklin shortlists have contained a healthy serve of history, from the poised historical fiction of authors such as David Malouf and Roger McDonald, to the past-in-present fabulations of Alexis Wright and Richard Flanagan. Another is Kim Scott, twice winner of the award, and part of the current shortlist with his most recent novel Taboo.' (Introduction)
'The Miles Franklin award is famously for “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases”. That’s a very broad palette, yet for most of the award’s existence — 1957 to the present — it has recognised a rather narrow field of “Australian life”.' (Introduction)
'Kim Scott started writing with the intention of being published when he was teaching English.' (Introduction)
'Melbourne writer, criminal lawyer and punk rocker Bram Presser has won three of the 12 categories in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.'
'Noongar author Kim Scott's novel Taboo - a story of redemption set on massacre country in Western Australia - has received the Book of the Year award in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.'
'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)
'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)
'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)
'With ‘Taboo’, Kim Scott sketches out a new way of accepting our histories, and imagining our future.
'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)