THE YIELD - TARA JUNE WINCH

 

Title: The Yield

Author: Tara June Winch

Published: June 2020

Genres: Fiction, Australia

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.

August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land – a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.

Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

 

NICKY'S REVIEW   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tara June Winch, a proud Wiriduji woman, winner of the 2020 Miles Franklin Award and the author of one of my now all time favourite books. It is told across and flawlessly weaves between three narratives and timelines. They are Albert Gondiwindi, an elder who passes away after a life of colonised trauma and a tireless need to preserve local language, his granddaughter August who returns home from the UK for his funeral and finds that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and lastly Reverend Greenleaf, who has been tasked with establishing a local mission, and reports his developments and findings by way of a 1915 letter to British Society of Ethnography. With themes of survival, love, culture, family and loss, and some hard truths of daily struggles still faced by our First Nations people, this really was something else. Nothing short of a remarkable tribute and powerful reflection of the strength that is the world's oldest living culture, if you have not read this yet, please do so.

 

TAY'S REVIEW   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As someone who is severely deficient in patience, I will be honest and say I struggled with this book. But there’s a reason it has received the praise and accolades it has. It was a story about connection; to land, to language, to family, to history. It shined a welcome light on indigenous culture and flawlessly manifested the undying bonds between the women who are the very backbone of their communities. As a white reader, there were many instances in which I experienced shame, as well as frustration with our education system for (as a majority) delivering us a one-dimensional account of Australia’s history, one that’s rooted in “celebration” no less. Winch’s turn of phrase was dazzling and her resilience as a Wiradjuri woman was echoed in the stories of suffering she told. It was the not-so-gentle reminder I needed that every day I walk on land that, although I call home, is not mine.

 

CONTENT WARNING

Descriptions of generational trauma, child abuse, depression, genocide & slavery

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