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Lorna M. (Ukiah, CA)
That Deadman Dance
I enjoyed this book and probably will recommend it for my local book club. The characters really came alive, and the story was believable (and heart-wrenching). I had some trouble following the time line - couldn't seem to match the dates at the beginning of the sections with what was happening in the story. I also had difficulties following some of the prose (that may have been intentional on the author's part, and it may make more sense on a second reading, which I plan to do).
Alice W. (Sacramento, CA)
That Deadman Dance
Kim Scott is an accomplished writer and does a fine job of describing two incompatible cultures. The characterization of several of the people was especially vivid - Bobby, Chaine, and Jack Tar stand out particularly.
I was quite disappointed in the rhythm of this book. I have read many novels from and about Australia and always have been fascinated. Perhaps there is an affectation that I don't relate to...I am not sure, but I found myself sighing as the book went on and was never very interested in the plot. Finishing it became a struggle as the characters never seemed to take on a persona that called to me.
Soosi D. (Shelton, Washington)
Something New to Think About
This book was an adventure into something completely new for me. Like others, I have read much about the great American expansion and the experiences with the colonists and the native Americans, but I knew nothing about the early exchanges between the indigenous peoples of Australia and the western colonists. I found the writing initially quite engaging, particularly the descriptions but found the plot disjointed and meandering, which was sometimes frustrating. I could not help but think about Caleb's Crossing as a comparison, when I read this. My only other exposure to the Down Under conflicts with indigenous people was Mr. Pip. I am now enticed to read more about these the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Paul R. (Albuquerque, NM)
I was looking forward to reading the book because of its interesting topic, but I just could not get into it, and quit after a hundred pages. The book seemed oddly unfocused, with no clear direction. As soon as I'd guess that someone was a main character, he would disappear. The same stories were told at different points in the novel, leaving the reader with no definite idea what had happened. All in all, rather disappointing.
Kathrin C. (Corona, CA)
After reading the prologue and being quite taken by the both language and the images, I could almost touch the rugged Australian coast, so close and so vivid in Scott’s words. I was expecting to like this novel very much. And parts of the book brought nineteenth century Western Australia with the first contact between the Aboriginal Noongar and European settlers terrifically to life. But Bobby Wabalanginy’s ongoing story simply did not grab hold of my attention, not enough to carry me through the whole book. But I definitely felt the power and the beauty of Scott's writing and I think that will tempt me to reread this novel at a later time. And perhaps as a reader I must take some of the blame for missed connections with this novel.
Kris H. (Grayslake, IL)
Struggled to get through this
I was interested in reading this book as I love historical fiction and was looking forward to learning about Australia. Unfortunately, I really struggled to get thru the book and didn't end up finishing it. I couldn't get past the writing style, and had trouble following the characters. If you have a strong interest in the topic, you may be fine with it, but it lost me along the way.
Penny P. (Santa barbara, Calif)
While this book had an interesting topic it was difficult for me to read.. The writing was good but somewhat disjointed. While I really tried to involve myself in the book, I was often confused because of the style in which it was written. The story was slow. I do think the story addressed a very important and dark time in history and I certainly did feel for the Aboriginal people. I do not think the book was bad, it talked about a time in history that should not be forgotten and had pretty well developed characters that I could empathise with. This would be a good book for anyone who is particularly interested in the history of Australia or in colonization. It would not be a good book for someone looking for a good, relaxing read.
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.