'This is the saddest love story I have ever read. But not for the reasons you might imagine.
'The Swan Book is Alexis Wright’s third novel and like her first two – Plains of Promise (1997) and the Miles Franklin Award winning Carpentaria (2006) – it opens in her ancestral country, the grass plains of the Gulf of Carpentaria. It bears all the hallmarks of Wright’s astonishing narrative powers: her linguistic dexterity, mashing words and phrases from high and low culture, from English, Aboriginal languages, French and Latin; her humour and scathing satire; her fierce political purpose; her genre bending; her virtuosic gift for interweaving stories on multiple levels, from the literal to the metaphoric, the folkloric and the mythic. But The Swan Book takes all these – especially the last – to new levels. In August 2008, as part of her Oodgeroo Noonuccal Lecture, Wright said: ‘Oodgeroo absolutely understood the power of belief in the fight for sovereignty over this land – that if you could succeed in keeping the basic architecture of how you think, then you owned the freedom of your mind, that unimpeded space to store hope and feed your ability to survive.’ The Swan Book constructs this architecture of the mind – and, as with a mind, it operates in many dimensions simultaneously. It teems with songs, stories, images and fragments of culture from across the planet.' (Introduction)