Sparrow, by Scot Gardner

One two three breath one two three four.
After the dusk burned out and the stars began winking in his salt-stung eyes it became impossible to judge the distance to shore. The stars finished some way above the waterline, but was theat the Kimberley coast he could see, or clouds hanging low over an endless ocean?
One two breath one two breath.

Travelling by boat at the end of a survival trip off the Kimberley coast, Sparrow sees that the boats i about to sink and decides to swim for safety and for freedom. His life in juvie has been tough, and h’es prepared to risk everything for freedom. But there are sharks and crocodiles in the water, and its getting dark. the shore, too, is filled with dangers. Yet none of these dangers are perhaps as dark as the memories that crowd his mind.

Sparrow is a compelling story of survival both in the remote Kimberley wilderness, and on the streets of Darwin. Sparrow, selective mute after a childhood of trauma, relives the events which have lead to him being in juvenile detention as he tackles the new challenges for day to day survival which have arisen as a result of his decision to flee the boat.

A moving, unforgettable story.

Sparrow, by Scot Gardner
Allen & Unwin, 2017
ISBN 9781760294472

Cicada, by Moira McKinnon

She brushed her lips against the baby’s forehead and she saw his eyes fix on hers.
‘I am here.’ She touched his shoulders, his chest and felt his heartbeat against the tips of her fingers.
It was then that her husband’s hand smashed hard and cold against her face. The child fell from her arms. She reached for him, but the room went dark and she was falling, and all she could see were William’s eyes burning and yellow.

On a remote Kimberley station, Lady Emily Lidscombe gives birth to her first child, a child she hopes will provide an heir and perhaps breathe life into her ailing marriage. But the baby, when it is born, is not her husband’s: he has ‘skin the colour of dark mallee honey’, the result of a brief liaison with an Aboriginal stockman. The birth sets of a violent and disturbing chain of events and soon Emily is on the run with her maid, Wirritjil, across the stark but beautiful landscape as they avoid capture and retribution for crimes real and imagined.

Cicada is a breathtaking tale of two disparate women who form a deep connection amidst horrible circumstances in a landscape which is as foreign to one as it is will be to most readers. This landscape is key to the story – it is a much a story of place as it is of violence, displacement and friendship. It is isn’t an easy read but it is compelling and utterly beautiful.


Cicada, by Moira McKinnon
Allen & Unwin, 2014
ISBN 9781743315293

Available from good bookstores or online.