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After Story – Larissa Behrendt

After Story – Larissa Behrendt

A friend recommended this one. I reserved the Audible version from Borrowbox.

Here’s the blurb …

When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine decides to take her mother Della on a tour of England’s most revered literary sites, Jasmine hopes it will bring them closer together and help them reconcile the past.

Twenty-five years earlier the disappearance of Jasmine’s older sister devastated their tight-knit community. This tragedy returns to haunt Jasmine and Della when another child mysteriously goes missing on Hampstead Heath. As Jasmine immerses herself in the world of her literary idols – including Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and Virginia Woolf – Della is inspired to rediscover the wisdom of her own culture and storytelling. But sometimes the stories that are not told can become too great to bear.

Ambitious and engrossing, After Story celebrates the extraordinary power of words and the quiet spaces between. We can be ready to listen, but are we ready to hear?

This was written from two different perspectives; the mother, Della, and the daughter Jasmine. Each one has a distinct voice and we get their versions of the day’s events and things that happened in the past. I also enjoyed the literary tour they were on – hearing about some of my favourites (Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, etc.). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read about a missing child, but that happens off-stage (so to speak) and this book is about the after effects – grief, guilt and shame. I haven’t read much indigenous literature and I appreciated all of the references to cultural practices; using fire to clear land, blocking the river with rocks that had spaces so the fish could still get downstream. It also highlighted how important family and community are and that everyone is looking out for everyone else, sharing spaces and keeping an eye on each other’s children.

A review

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