The Crying Place by Lia Hills

1. First lines 2. Publisher: Allen and Unwin 3. Seven sisters – collaborative artwork. Painted by five sisters from the Ken family – Tjungkara Ken, Yaritji Young, Freda Brady, Maringka Tunkin and Sandra Ken – from Amata in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia. Hanging in the Art Gallery of NSW. Photo by Doug Beckers  Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0

Themed with grief and its cultural practices.

Plot summary: Saul, working in Sydney, gets the news of his friend Jed’s suicide. Grieving and wanting answers, he travels to the fictional Aboriginal community of Ininyingi in central Australia to find Nara who has a connection  to Jed, and who may have some answers.

“But this was a rock, a single slab, the type of massive geology that could worry your beliefs. It loomed. It unsettled. Defied every photo ever taken of it. And I felt somehow proud, as if by virtue of being born in the same country I’d had something to do with it.”

“… if you allow yourself, you can see the truth in most of it. The hair cropping. The sorry cuts. Burning the belongings of the deceased. It’s about respect, but it’s also about not calling back spirits that need to journey elsewhere, so they don’t get trapped, get stuck in limbo.”

~Quotes from “The Crying Place” by Lia Hills
  • “And there are some evocative and beautifully realised portraits, especially of women and children. Hills’ research has been extensive, with lots of time spent in the sorts of communities she is describing. She has consulted with tribal elders and Indigenous organisations and picked up a bit of Western Desert language. She even goes so far as to describe her book as a collaboration. The result is an accessible but intriguing story about dealing with grief, appeasing ghosts and expiating guilt.”  Full review: Sydney Morning Herald
  • The Crying Place is a haunting, luminous novel about love, country, and the varied ways in which we grieve. In its unflinching portrayal of the borderlands where worlds come together, and the past and present overlap, it speaks of the places and moments that bind us. The myths that draw us in. And, ultimately, the ways in which we find our way home.” Miles Franklin award judge’s comments

Author’s website; Awards: Longlisted 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award


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