Katherine Susannah Prichard Coonardoo

ISBN 13: 9780207198472

Coonardoo

3.42 avg rating
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9780207198472: Coonardoo

A tough, uncompromising novel about the difficult love between a black woman and a white man. This reissue, introduced by Drusilla Modjeska, still raises difficult questions about the history of contact between black and white and its representation in Australian writing.

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About the Author:

Katharine Susannah Prichard was born in 1883 in Levuka, Fiji, where her father was the editor of a newspaper. She spent part of her childhood in Melbourne and part in Tasmania before moving to Greenmount, Western Australia, where she died in 1969. Her literary output included the novels Working Bullocks, Haxby's Circus, and Black Opal, but she also wrote poetry, several volumes of short stories and a play.

Review:

Katherine Prichard's family saga Coonardoo is set on the vast expanse of North-Western Australia. Coonardoo, an Aboriginal native, and her extended family work on Wytaliba, the million-acre station owned by Hugh, the white son who inherits the land where he and Coonardoo grew up together. Cattle ranching and horse-breaking provide the station's income, and Hugh cannot run Wytaliba without Coonardoo and the native people. "Through his love of the country and of Wytaliba, Hugh realized, was woven regard for the people who had grown in and were bound to it." The novel is full of descriptions of the land, of native people treated "well," and of an unspoken love between Coonardoo - who can - and Hugh - who can't - accept it. Both Coonardoo and Hugh, influenced by society's attitudes, experience torments from love denied. The years unfold: there is happiness with rain and children, sadness because of people's cunning, blackmail, and the always-present threat of drought. The lack of respect shown people of color by so many of the characters can make reading Coonardoo painful, but Katherine Prichard was mirroring her world. She was also ahead of her time in her portrayal of Coonardoo and Hugh's relationship, which created a controversy when the book was published. Ultimately, Coonardoo is a rich, rewarding life tale, full of the spirit of the people and the land. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith

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