Cambria Press Publication: Giving this Country a Memory – Featured Author: Melissa Lucashenko
Melissa Lucashenko is a Murri woman of European (Ukrainian) and Yugambeh/Bundjalung (southeast Queensland) descent, with affiliations with the Arrente and Waanyi nations (in central Australia and the southern Gulf of Carpentaria region respectively). She has published three adult novels, the prize-winning Steam Pigs, as well as Hard Yards and Mullumbimby. Lucashenko has also published two young-adult novels, Killing Darcy and Too Flash.
Excerpt from Cambria Press Publication
Giving This Country a Memory (Chapter 4: Melissa Lucashenko )
“Humour also functions in the novel as a complex critique of the underclass masculinity of the south side of Brisbane. Lucashenko mercilessly satirises men’s attachment to their cars, the “little boys’ toys” (22) which define them, in their own and each other’s eyes, as men “to-be-taken-seriously” (113). While this kind of masculinity is the object of dread and anger in the novel, Lucashenko also critiques it through humour which undermines these figures’ authority. Many of the narratorial joking remarks about men (enunciated from either the narrator’s or Sue’s point of view) double up as critiques of racism, especially the satirical remarks about men and their cars. … There are many other kinds of humour in the novel such as affectionate repartee and practical joking between family members and friends which reinforce communal and familial bonds and fortify indigenous people as individuals and a collective against the racialised violence of their everyday worlds. The Murri vernacular which Lucashenko draws upon for striking comic and humorous effects demonstrates the vital orality of contemporary indigenous cultures which has buttressed those communities against assimilation.” (p. 138-139)
Giving This Country A Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia by Anne Brewster is part of the Cambria Australian Literature Series, headed by Susan Lever.
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