Written in the time-slip tradition that worked well for Playing Beattie Bow, Crow Country is a YA novel that readers will dive straight into and devour. Protagonist Sadie has moved begrudgingly to the country with her mother. Here she discovers that she can communicate with the town’s crows, which allude cryptically to sinister undertakings both past and present. While finding her feet and making friends, Sadie is also forced to grapple with her family’s history in the town and the ethics of their actions. At various stages throughout the tale, she is catapulted back to a time just after WWI when a murder is committed and then covered up. Caught up in the story and with her own life possibly at stake, Sadie’s task is to prevent history from repeating. This latest book from accomplished writer Kate Constable, who also employed time-slip for her previous book, Cicada Summer, is a good read. The characters are authentic, the tale interesting and well-paced, and the imagery of the crows (traditionally ominous in many cultures, but good luck in Indigenous Australian culture) makes you rethink your superstitions. This book will prompt discussions into history, racism and respect for cultures and the land.
Fancy Goods, 2011.
Racism is the result of a complex interplay of individual attitudes, social values and institutional practices. It may be expressed in the actions of individuals and institutions and takes a range of forms.
Creative Spirits, 2017
Aboriginal spirituality is inextricably linked to land, “it's like picking up a piece of dirt and saying this is where I started and this is where I'll go. The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and identity.” Dreamtime and Dreaming are not the same thing.
The land of the Dja Dja Wurrung takes in the catchment area for the Loddon, Campaspe and Avoca Rivers in the Riverine region of central/western Victoria. Bendigo is the largest city in Dja Dja Wurrung country. Other cities and towns are Wedderburn, Castlemaine, St Arnaud, Maryborough, Boort, Heathcote and Maldon.
Boort is an Aboriginal name meaning, “ smoke from the hill”. The town is situated on a lunette and on the edge of a lake. The area around Boort and east to the Loddon River was a regular camping area of the Jaara Aborigines. Many middens still exist today; some, in the lake-bed of the Big Lake Boort are very well preserved.
Kate Constable was born in Sangringham, Melborne (Victoria, Australia). When she was six-years-old, her family moved to Papua New Guinea where her father worked as a pilot.
Constable got her Arts/Law degree at Melborne University, then got a job at Warner Music. She started writing during these years. She wrote several short-stories before becoming an author and after her first attempt at writing a novel she fell in love with the man that is now her husband. They have a daughter.
Constable's first official novel was The Singer of All Songs, in a trilogy called The Chanters of Tremaris. It was published in 2002, a few weeks after Constable's daughter was born.
Image retrieved from Booked Out, 2017.