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y separately published work icon The White Earth single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2004... 2004 The White Earth
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'His father dead by fire and his mother plagued by demons of her own, William is cast upon the charity of his unknown uncle - an embittered old man encamped in the ruins of a once great station homestead, Kuran House. It's a baffling and sinister new world for the boy, a place of decay and secret histories. His uncle is obsessed by a long life of decline and by a dark quest for revival, his mother is desperate for a wealth and security she has never known, and all their hopes it seems come to rest upon William's young shoulders. But as the past and present of Kuran Station unravel and merge together, the price of that inheritance may prove to be the downfall of them all. The White Earth is a haunting, disturbing and cautionary tale.' (publisher's website)

Adaptations

y separately published work icon White Earth Andrew McGahan , Shaun Charles , 2009 Fortitude Valley : Playlab , 2012 Z1559461 2009 single work drama

'When eight-year-old William witnesses his father burn to death in a freak farming accident, William and his sickly mother are cast upon the charity of a mysterious uncle, John McIvor. Encamped alone in the ruins of the once great station homestead, Kuran House, the aging McIvor is desperate for an heir and sets his sights upon the boy.

'Set against the background of the Native Title debate, this sweeping saga switches between William's present and McIvor's troubled past. Before these storylines collide in a dramatic climax, we are introduced to devious housekeepers, family secrets and a mythical Australian landscape of ghosts and monsters.'

Source : www.laboite.com.au (Sighted 10/02/2009).

Reading Australia

Reading Australia

This work has Reading Australia teaching resources.

Unit Suitable For

AC: Year 11 (Literature Unit 1)

Themes

family, family relationships, History, national identity, national spirit

General Capabilities

Critical and creative thinking, Information and communication technology

Notes

  • Dedication: For my parents, whose life this isn't.
  • Author's note: This is a work of fiction. While the Darling Downs are real enough, the northern parts of the region do not exist as described here. This story is not meant to portray any actual place, person or event.
  • This book was awarded the University of Canberra Book of the Year in 2017.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2004 .
      image of person or book cover 7395852678995083112.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 376p.
      Description: illus., map.
      ISBN: 1741141478
    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2005 .
      image of person or book cover 1399323977142921980.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 376p.
      Description: illus., map.
      ISBN: 1741146127
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Soho Press ,
      2006 .
      image of person or book cover 6853543842519666461.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      ISBN: 1569474176
Alternative title: Terres Noires, Terres Blanches : Roman
Language: French
    • Arles,
      c
      France,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Actes Sud ,
      2008 .
      image of person or book cover 2898792674238661323.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 391p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 30 January 2008
      ISBN: 9782742772445

Other Formats

  • Also sound recording.
  • Large print.
  • Braille.

Works about this Work

y separately published work icon Writing Belonging at the Millennium : Notes from the Field on Settler-Colonial Place Emily Potter , Bristol Chicago : Intellect , 2019 18882857 2019 multi chapter work criticism

'Writing Belonging at the Millennium brings together two pressing and interrelated matters: the global environmental impacts of post-industrial economies and the politics of place in settler-colonial societies. It focuses on Australia at the millennium, when the legacies of colonization intersected with intensifying environmental challenges in a climate of anxiety surrounding settler-colonial belonging. The question of what “belonging means is central to the discussion of the unfolding politics of place in Australia and beyond.

'In this book, Emily Potter negotiates the meaning of belonging in a settler-colonial field and considers the role of literary texts in feeding and contesting these legacies and anxieties. Its intention is to interrogate the assumption that non-indigenous Australians' increasingly unsustainable environmental practices represent a failure on their part to adequately belong in the country. Writing Belonging at the Millennium explores the idea of unsettled non-indigenous belonging as context for the emergence of potentially decolonized relations with place in a time of heightened global environmental concern.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

y separately published work icon Reckoning with the Past : Family Historiographies in Postcolonial Australian Literature Ashley Barnwell , Joseph Cummins , Abingdon : Routledge , 2018 17218286 2018 single work criticism

'This is the first book to examine how Australian fiction writers draw on family histories to reckon with the nation's colonial past. Located at the intersection of literature, history, and sociology, it explores the relationships between family storytelling, memory, and postcolonial identity. With attention to the political potential of family histories, Reckoning with the Past argues that authors' often autobiographical works enable us to uncover, confront, and revise national mythologies. An important contribution to the emerging global conversation about multidirectional memory and the need to attend to the effects of colonisation, this book will appeal to an interdisciplinary field of scholarly readers. '

Source: Publisher's blurb.

y separately published work icon The Mabo Turn in Australian Fiction Geoff Rodoreda , Oxford : Peter Lang , 2017 13852561 2017 multi chapter work criticism

'This is the first in-depth, broad-based study of the impact of the Australian High Court’s landmark Mabo decision of 1992 on Australian fiction. More than any other event in Australia’s legal, political and cultural history, the Mabo judgement – which recognised indigenous Australians’ customary native title to land – challenged previous ways of thinking about land and space, settlement and belonging, race and relationships, and nation and history, both historically and contemporaneously. While Mabo’s impact on history, law, politics and film has been the focus of scholarly attention, the study of its influence on literature has been sporadic and largely limited to examinations of non-Aboriginal novels.

'Now, a quarter of a century after Mabo, this book takes a closer look at nineteen contemporary novels – including works by David Malouf, Alex Miller, Kate Grenville, Thea Astley, Tim Winton, Michelle de Kretser, Richard Flanagan, Alexis Wright and Kim Scott – in order to define and describe Australia’s literary imaginary as it reflects and articulates post-Mabo discourse today. Indeed, literature’s substantial engagement with Mabo’s cultural legacy – the acknowledgement of indigenous people’s presence in the land, in history, and in public affairs, as opposed to their absence – demands a re-writing of literary history to account for a “Mabo turn” in Australian fiction. ' (Publication summary)

Family Historiography in The White Earth Ashley Barnwell , Joseph Cummins , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , May vol. 41 no. 2 2017; (p. 156-170)
'In recent years, family history research has become a popular activity for many Australians. This imperative to connect with our ancestors extends into the field of literary production. In this essay, we examine one prominent novel that reflects this movement, Andrew McGahan’s The White Earth (2004). Looking through a lens of family history and historiography, the novel asks questions about postcolonial belonging, inheritance, and the violent foundations of the nation. McGahan’s young protagonist, William, stands to inherit a vast but crumbling property on the Darling Downs in Queensland. As William discovers more about the land, he comes into contact with both his own white pastoralist ancestors, and the powerful Indigenous spirits who inhabit secret and sacred spaces in the landscape. We argue that William’s encounter with secret family histories produces the hysteria at the climax of the novel, when the repressed violence of the past returns to haunt the present. Confronted with hidden knowledge, William—and, by proxy, the reader—is called to reconsider inherited histories in light of contemporary historiographies. The move towards knowledge of the family’s origins is a realisation of the complexity of the white Australian relationship to the land and its first inhabitants.' (Publication abstract)
The Condition of Recognition : Gothic Intimations in Andrew McGahan's The White Earth Stephanie Green , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , June vol. 23 no. 1 2016; (p. 84-94)

'This article discusses the evocation of the Gothic as a narrative interrogation of the intersections between place, identity and power in Andrew McGahan's The White Earth (2004). The novel deploys common techniques of Gothic literary fiction to create a sense of disassociation from the grip of a European colonial sensibility. It achieves this in various ways, including by representing its central architectural figure of colonial dominance, Kuran House, as an emblem of aristocratic pastoral decline, then by invoking intimations of an ancient supernatural presence which intercedes in the linear descent of colonial possession and, ultimately, by providing a rational explanation for the novel's events. The White Earth further demonstrates the inherently adaptive qualities of Gothic narrative technique as a means of confronting the limits to white belonging in post-colonial Australia by referencing a key historical moment, the 1992 Mabo judgment, which rejected the concept of terra nullius and recognised native title under Australian common law. At once discursive and performative, the sustained way in which the work employs the tropic power of Gothic anxiety serves to reveal the uncertain terms in which its characters negotiate what it means to be Australian, more than 200 years after colonial invasion.' (Publication abstract)

New and Difficult Territory to Negotiate Rachel Cunneen , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 1 May 2004; (p. 2a)

— Review of The White Earth Andrew McGahan , 2004 single work novel
At the Crux of Things Helen Elliott , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 1-2 May 2004; (p. 12-13)

— Review of The White Earth Andrew McGahan , 2004 single work novel
False Histories James Ley , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 1-2 May 2004; (p. 10)

— Review of The White Earth Andrew McGahan , 2004 single work novel
Archetypal Landscape James Bradley , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 261 2004; (p. 41)

— Review of The White Earth Andrew McGahan , 2004 single work novel
Tilling a Land of Buried Secrets Aviva Tuffield , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 15 May 2004; (p. 5)

— Review of The White Earth Andrew McGahan , 2004 single work novel
Moving on to the Land Michelle Griffin , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 1 May 2004; (p. 3)
Combing the Land Helen Elliott , 2004 single work biography
— Appears in: Limelight , April 2004; (p. 40-41)
The Courier-Mail Book of the Year Rosemary Sorensen , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 11 September 2004; (p. 10)
Down to Earth Book Wins Award Rosemary Sorensen , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 2 October 2004; (p. 6)
Reading Groups and Creative Writing Courses : The Year's Work in Fiction Susan Lever , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , November vol. 49 no. 2004; (p. 164-175)
Last amended 9 Mar 2020 16:02:10
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