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Crossing "The Secret River": From Victim to Perpetrator ...
Kate Grenville's The Secret River (2005) is a moving account of the disturbing colonial development of Australia. In historical terms, it dramatizes the transformation of the white setder's dream into the worst of all possible nightmares, and brings to the fore the darker side of Australia's past. This article will show how the novel defamiliarizes some of the most important myths of the Australian nation. It will also rely on the ideas put forward by some outstanding ethics and trauma theorists and postcolonial critics in order to analyse The Secret River as a further example of a recurrent phenomenon in contemporary Australian literature, namely, the attempt to spell out the trauma and anxieties of (un) belonging that haunt settler culture as a result of the belated and painful revelation of Aboriginal dispossession and genocide. This article will therefore show that Grenville's novel testifies to the desperate attempt on the part of some non-Indigenous Australians to offer an apology to the Aborigines so that the much longed-for national Reconciliation may some day be possible.
Revisiting The Secret River
"... Kate Grenville’s well-known novel of early Sydney and its frontier, The Secret River (2005), belongs to the second category while the characters are imagined, the events around them, and what happens to them, must seem credible for the book to be effective ... "
The Secret River, silences and our nation’s history
"Neil Armfield’s new stage adaptation of Kate Grenville’s 2005 novel The Secret River invites us to think about the complex relationships between personal and national histories, and the past and the present ... "
Historians and novelists fight turf wars – let’s flip the narrative
" ... In 2006, at the height of the mudslinging that began when Kate Grenville allegedly claimed her novel The Secret River (2005) was a new form of historiography, historian Inga Clendinnen countered that the novelist’s only “binding contract” with their readers was “not to instruct or to reform, but to delight” ..."
Finding the Secret River
"This thesis conducts a close reading of Kate Grenville‟s two recent texts, the historical novel The Secret River and its companion “writing memoir” Searching for the Secret River ... "
On the frontier: the intriguing dance of history and fiction
" ... Grenville’s commentary on her novel addressed this context directly. “The voice of debate might stimulate the brain”, she declared in 2005, “the dry voice of ‘facts’ might make us comfortable, even relaxed. It takes the voice of fiction to get the feet walking in a new direction." ... "
Friday essay: On listening to new national storytellers
"A few years ago, I saw a series of Aboriginal paintings on a sandstone cliff face in the Northern Territory. There were characteristic crosshatched images of fat barramundi and turtles, as well as sprayed handprints and several human figures with spears. Next to them was a long gun, painted with white ochre, an unmistakable image of the colonisers. Was this an Indigenous rendering of contact? A work of history, no less? ... "