Friday, September 30, 2011

The Roving Party by Rohan Wilson

35 hours travel, from Cliff College back to Adelaide, does provide quite a bit of time to read – including the 2011 Australian/Vogel Literary Award winner, Rohan Wilson’s The Roving Party.

It is a sober read, set during Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania)’s Black War, fought between 1804 and 1830, when indigenous and settler clashed. The book accounts for what amounts to acts of legalised genocide, as the colonial Government paid for local militia to exterminate indigenous people. This is a harsh and violent world, set in stark contrast to the beauty and bounty of the land (aided by some simply gorgeous writing). It is a very impressive literary debut (Wilson’s first book): well paced and thought provoking.

And with plenty of time to ponder, as my plane flew over mile upon mile of Australian outback dirt, I wondered: How to do mission today, in a land with this sort of history? Is reconciliation simply for current events, or can it also extend to historic violence?

Posted by steve at 05:39 PM

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