by Candice Bruce
Random House, $32.95 pb, 360 pp, 9781864712704
T he Longing is an ambitious first novel. Set in the Western District of Victoria, with parallel narratives in the mid-nineteenth century and the present day, its principal theme is the occupation of Gunditjmara country by white settlers, and the decimation of Indigenous tribes. Novel writing is, of course, an act of imagination, and writers should be commended for their research, tenacity, and inventiveness, but I cannot ignore the social and political implications of this particular story, and cannot help but be alert to the authenticity of its three main voices and the sentiments they express.