Wiradjuri writer Tara June Winch is not afraid to play with the form and shape of fiction. Her dazzling début, Swallow the Air (2006), is a short novel in vignettes that moves quickly through striking images and poetic prose. Her second book, After the Carnage (2017), a wide-ranging short story collection, is set in multiple countries. Winch’s new novel, The Yield, is partly written in reclaimed Wiradjuri dictionary entries.
Three different voices narrate The Yield in bite-sized chapters: dictionary maker and elder Albert Gondiwindi, his granddaughter August, and nineteenth-century missionary Reverend Greenleaf. It takes some time to get used to this structure, but ultimately it is rewarding. The different perspectives introduce us to life in the place where the Gondiwindi family live: Prosperous House, in the fictional town of Massacre Plains. Abbreviating, the Aboriginal characters call it ‘Massacre’. This contraction is pointed: Winch reminds us we are in a site of settler–invader violence, one without a treaty. Admirers of Kim Scott’s Taboo and Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip will enjoy Winch’s Aboriginal realism.