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Courtesy of Giramondo Publishing
y separately published work icon The Swan Book single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2013... 2013 The Swan Book
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The new novel by Alexis Wright, whose previous novel Carpentaria won the Miles Franklin Award and four other major prizes including the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award. The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning best-seller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale.' (Publisher's blurb)

Exhibitions

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Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Artarmon, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Giramondo Publishing , 2013 .
      image of person or book cover 3140092853473263698.jpg
      Courtesy of Giramondo Publishing
      Extent: 360p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: August 2013
      ISBN: 9781922146434, 1922146439, 9781922146441, 1922146447
    • Artarmon, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Giramondo Publishing , 2015 .
      image of person or book cover 7261291042558721181.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 252p.
      Note/s:
      • Published: 1st January 2015
      ISBN: 9781922146830
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Constable ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 3665117448315997009.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 340p.
      Note/s:
      • Includes bibliography

      ISBN: 9781472120557, 9781472120564
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Little, Brown ,
      2016 .
      image of person or book cover 1673784780724386865.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 352 p.p.
      ISBN: 1472120574, 9781472120571
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Atria Books ,
      2018 .
      image of person or book cover 4129293788269440088.jpg
      This image has been sourced from publisher's website
      Extent: 320p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 9 January 2018

      ISBN: 9781501124792
Alternative title: Le livre du cygne : roman
Language: French
    • Arles,
      c
      France,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Actes Sud ,
      2016 .
      image of person or book cover 6593956763832725795.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 358p.p.
      ISBN: 9782330060688, 2330060688
      Series: y separately published work icon Lettres des Antipodes Arles : Actes Sud , 2013- 13184070 2013 series - publisher

Other Formats

  • Also e-book.
  • Also sound recording.

Works about this Work

Responsive Topographies : Reading the Ontopoetics in Mullumbimby and The Swan Book Stephen Dickie , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: Swamphen : A Journal of Cultural Ecology , no. 7 2020;

'The ways in which European settlers have disrupted Australian lands, and disrupted the relationship that First Nations people have to Indigenous Country, are massive and manifold. This despoliation has deep and lasting implications because Country relies on a dialogue between people and place, and this dialogue is based on millennia of accumulated knowledges. Mitigating the despoliation requires the acknowledgement of this dialogue’s importance, and one mode of making it legible, particularly to European settlers, is through works of Indigenous literature.' (Introduction) 

Relational Ethics : Writing about Birds; Writing about Humans Joshua Lobb , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , October no. 57 2019;
'Philip Armstrong points out that scholars in Animal Studies are ‘interested in attending not just to what animals mean to humans, but what they mean to themselves; that is, to the ways in which animals might have significances, intentions and effects quite beyond the designs of human beings’ (2008: 2). This essay asks: what are the ethics of representing birds in fiction? It promotes the model offered by Linda Alcoff in ‘The Problem of Speaking for Others’ (1992). Alcoff offers a set of ‘interrogatory practices’ for writers, including an analysis of our speaking position to expose any implicit discourses of domination at work, and, most importantly, a consideration for the effects of ‘speaking for’ on actual animals. Using Alcoff’s interrogatory practices as a framework, I examine the ways writers have allowed for ‘ethical relationships’ between humans and birds in fictional spaces. I investigate the function of birds as metaphor in three Australian novels: Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book (2013), Evie Wyld’s All the Birds, Singing (2013) and Catherine McKinnon’s Storyland (2017). In each of these, birds serve a symbolic function but are also given space to allow for their own experiences, voices, and knowledges. I will also reflect on the attempts I have made in my own novel, The Flight of Birds (2019), to grapple with the discourses of power at work and the impact of that power on the lives of real birds.' (Publication abstract)
Anthropocene and the End of the World : Apocalypse, Dystopia, and Other Disasters Kylie Crane , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Anglophone Literature and Culture in the Anthropocene 2019; (p. 158-175)
Analyses a series of Australian novels in terms of their dystopian approach to climate change.
Australia in Three Books Robert Lukins , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin , Autumn vol. 78 no. 1 2019; (p. 22-25)

'I’ve heard of that place, Australia. There are even some memories that persist of it as a discrete, identifiable object. It was a thing taught to me in primary school in jovial, unambiguous ways. It was a series of tales of sheep, and rushes of gold, and the bushranging bloke with a metal bucket on his head. It played cricket against the West Indies. It was precisely 200 years old and we dressed as convicts and walked down the town’s main street to celebrate this fact. All incompleteness and lies that I felt disconnected from then, as I do now.'  (Introduction)

Unresolved Sovereignty and the Anthropocene Novel : Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book Philip Mead , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , vol. 43 no. 4 2018; (p. 524-538)

'The recent “Uluru Statement from the Heart” (May, 2017), and the Final Report of the Referendum Council (June, 2017) are significant expressions of a rapidly evolving discourse on sovereignty in Australia. Alexis Wright's The Swan Book (2013) is a futuristic meditation on the limits of sovereignty from an Indigenous perspective: what if national borders disappear under the rising waters of global warming? What if national governments are superseded by global rule? The Swan Book explores these scenarios in a complex interplay of utopian and dystopian modes. This article argues that Alexis Wright's work is an instance of how the Indigenous world novel can address real world issues of anthropocene futures, Indigenous rights and national sovereignty.'  (Publication abstract)

Counter Intervention Geordie Williamson , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 10-11 August 2013; (p. 18-19)

— Review of The Swan Book Alexis Wright , 2013 single work novel
'Alexis Wright's long-awaited new novel is a work of fury, beauty and urgent importance...'
Living Wound Jen Webb , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 354 2013; (p. 22, 24)

— Review of The Swan Book Alexis Wright , 2013 single work novel
[Untitled] Alison Lees , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 5 October 2013; (p. 21)

— Review of The Swan Book Alexis Wright , 2013 single work novel
After the Apocalypse : Despair, Hope and All Things Between Alison Ravenscroft , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 5-6 October 2013; (p. 28-29) The Canberra Times , 5 October 2013; (p. 22)

— Review of The Swan Book Alexis Wright , 2013 single work novel
Literature Geordie Williamson , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Monthly , October no. 94 2013; (p. 56)

— Review of The Childhood of Jesus J. M. Coetzee , 2013 single work novel ; The Swan Book Alexis Wright , 2013 single work novel ; Questions of Travel Michelle De Kretser , 2012 single work novel
World of Words Jane Sullivan , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28-29 December 2012; (p. 22) The Canberra Times , 29 December 2012; (p. 15-16) The Saturday Age , 29 December 2012; (p. 22-23)
Jane Sullivan nominates the best Australian and overseas published books for 2013.
Interview : Alexis Wright Jane Sullivan , 2013 single work interview
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 3-4 August 2013; (p. 26-27) The Canberra Times , 3 August 2013; (p. 19)
'After a whirlwind of success with her novel Carpentaria, the author returns with a dark fairytale about climate change, refugees and surprising beauty...'
The Future of the Swans Arnold Zable , 2013 single work interview
— Appears in: Overland , Summer no. 213 2013; (p. 27-30)
'At this year's Melbourne Writers Festival, Arnold Zable spoke with Alexis Wright about her new novel.'
Leading Author's Novel Imagines a Disturbing Future Rudi Maxwell , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 7 May no. 575 2014; (p. 6)
'Aboriginal writer and activist Alexis Wright has been thinking about the future - and what might eventuate if humanity blithely continues to ignore the warning signals being sent by our warming planet and if governments continue to disempower Aboriginal people.'
Franklin Short List Revealed William Yeoman , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The West Australian , 20 May 2014; (p. 7)
Last amended 9 Sep 2019 14:00:54
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