That Deadman Dance review
Although the author does a good job depicting the colonization of Australia, I found the reading difficult: too many native words, disjointed text, and awkward sentence structure. Bobby was a delightful character, but I had trouble with some of the other characters seeming real to me. The descriptions of what must be beautiful scenery were repetitive and I did not feel as though I were there. This book probably will have great appeal to Australians or to anyone who has visited there.
Nancy O. (Hobe Sound, FL)
A new and different take on a tragic story
There are several novels about the relationship between the indigenous peoples of Australia and the newly-arriving settlers (Tim Winton or Kate Grenville are authors that come to mind in this area), but That Deadman Dance offers a slightly different take on this topic. For that reason, plus the author's obvious love for his subject and his delightful prose, I couldn't put this book down once I'd started it. Readers familiar with this topic already know the tragic outcome of the overall situation, but I was particularly struck by the initial promise of a harmonious co-existence when settlers first arrive. From that viewpoint, the tragedy that ensues for the Noongar people becomes more distressing as the novel progresses, allowing the reader to become more deeply involved in the story. Anyone who enjoys Australian fiction, or who is interested in novels about the effects of colonization would enjoy this story; Scott's novel would also be an outstanding choice for a book group, because it raises so many interesting questions. Overall, a very good read, one I'd recommend.
Catherine M. (Grand Forks, ND)
That Deadman Dance Review
Although I am quite familiar with the history of western expansion in the United States, "That Deadman Dance" by Kim Scott was my first exposure to the history of early contacts between the British (the horizon people) and the indigenous people of southwestern Australia (the Noongar). Scott presents his story about colonization from several characters’ points of view and with engaging language that takes the reader back in time and beyond familiar places. Overall, an important story that reveals the complexities of colonization.
Darra W. (Walnut Creek, CA)
Not My Cup of Tea
While I suspect this novel has much to offer in describing the relationship between white settlers and the Noongar Aboriginal people in 19th-century Australia, I simply couldn't crack it and--uncharacteristically--gave up after about 75 pages. Had I some experience with the culture and history of the people, the setting, and the period, I might have fared better; however, facing the additional challenges of a constantly shifting timeline and disjointed narrative style, I just felt lost. I suppose I'll have to chalk this one up to the adage: "Too many books, too little time."
Bea C. (Liberty Lake, WA)
That slow, tedious dance
While this book was filled with passion and emotion, it was just too disjointed for me. The very good writing was eclipsed by the meandering thru past and future and repetitious words by the older Bobby. The story moved slowly and became tedious, even though I could feel the despair on the part of the aborigines and the fear the early settlers had of them. The older Bobby said "Who knew that being friendly to them would cost us everything?" Very Poignant.