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DIAMOND DOVE
by Adrian Hyland
Quercus, August 2007
336 pages
10.99 GBP
ISBN: 1847241786


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Some books you have to devour in one sitting. Others you ration out because you can't bear the thought of them ending. DIAMOND DOVE falls into the latter category!

Emily Tempest lives up to her name. She's a fiery little character who's caught between two worlds and has spent most of her 20-something life drifting. She's mixed race half Aboriginal, half white, and fits neatly into neither world.

But something is calling her back to Moonlight Downs, the Aboriginal community she lived in until her teens. The familiar faces are still there her friend Hazel and her father Lincoln. But a sudden and violent death rips an already uneasy group of people apart and sets Emily on a dangerous course as she starts asking questions.

DIAMOND DOVE'S over-riding strength is taking the reader into a world most will know nothing about. This isn't the Australia of Bondi Beach and the Sydney Opera House it's gritty, dangerous and ridden with prejudice against the Aboriginal population. Some of the best scenes are when Emily moves into Bluebush, the outback town where the rats run around in pairs and casual crime and racism are endemic.

Hyland, who deservedly won the Ned Kelly First Novel award for the book, has lived and worked among the remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia, and you suspect that a fair few of the choicest scenes in DIAMOND DOVE come from his personal experience.

What's absolutely fascinating is his portrayal of the Aboriginal community and their traditions, and of people like Emily, who straddle the "whitefeller" and "blackfeller" worlds.

There's a hint of woo-woo in the book, but Hyland ties it tightly into Aboriginal mythology and traditions. The writing in DIAMOND DOVE is absolutely beautiful, and we are presented with a witty, angry and moving book. This is a breathtakingly audacious debut novel that demands to be read, and that will remain in your mind for a long time after.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, August 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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