Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki

‘Four generations of Noongar women in this story. I am the sixth.’

I was fortunate enough to win a copy of this book in a giveaway conducted by Lisa at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog | For lovers of Australian and New Zealand literary fiction; Ambassador for Australian literature and I have been dipping in and out, reading, reflecting and revisiting over the past few weeks.

This book pieces together fragments of stories in poetry and prose and from historical colonial archives to provide a word picture of historical truth for four generations of Noongar women. There are three sections:




Each section takes us into a past that many of us have absolutely no idea about, or chose to ignore:

‘Mary Alice

She made herself visible

For great consequence

                                                                                In a world which made her invisible.’

The layout of this book with its spaces between thoughts and words slows down the reader, inviting us to think about what we are reading, about the lives and experiences being described.

How, with all the difficulties placed in front of them, with policies of protectionism and assimilation almost destroying family and cultural practices, did these women survive?

What does it say about us, the colonisers, that we sought to destroy what we didn’t understand and to force our own values?

 I read on and am struck by the resilience of the storytellers and their commitment to sharing.

Read this book and hear their voices, reflect on their memories, and feel their strength.

Elfie Shiosaki is a Noongar and Yawuru writer from WA.

Thank you, Lisa. This book lives on my keeper shelf.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith