Nargun – An Australian Novel

I don’t usually have such long posts but Ian Lipke is a fascinating Author with an equally fascinating book and I felt to leave anything out would be an injustice. I hope you read all of this and enjoy.

1About the Author 

Ian Lipke became a teacher of primary children in 1958, transferring to secondary schools in 1964. He has taught in schools in remote and metropolitan areas of Queensland, Australia.

He left school teaching in 1977 to lecture at the University of Queensland and at Queensland University of Technology.

Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s he was a deputy principal at several high schools, before retiring to manage his own tutoring business.

In 2006 he returned to postgraduate studies through research at the University of Queensland.

His whole life has been devoted to academic studies which he very much enjoys.

He has co-written two textbooks for older school children, a novel called Nargun that depicts aboriginal-white confrontation in early nineteenth century Queensland, and at the time of writing was president of the University of the Third Age, Brisbane. While carrying out his administrative duties, he has written and published a crime novel called Lest Evil Prevail. A third novel, Family Matters, has been accepted for publication. His books are available for purchase at http://www.booklocker.com.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities he coordinates the ‘words’ section of M/C Reviews, a highly commended online journal (www.reviews.media-culture.org.au) that is the brain-child of Dr Axel Bruns of Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. In 2014 he conducted a seminar on the self-publishing industry, an area that he has made his own.

Ian has a wife, two children, and two grandchildren.

Email: ian.lipke@gmail.com

Nargun (Blurb)

About the Book1

For many the turbulent history that shaped early Australia has been forgotten. The victorious wrote the history books, and the voices of the vanquished were silenced. The invasion and conquest of the land and the near genocide of the indigenous people were events that rarely receive mention.

Ellie Matthews’ academic research drew her to the culture and history of the first inhabitants of Southeast Queensland. One day she receives a poorly written letter that causes her to drive over rough roads to meet with an old aboriginal man who tells her the story of Nargun, a man of the forgotten Galanga people, one of the greatest aboriginal warriors of his day, a war chief caught up in the collision between two cultures and two worlds. In Garunna’s tale, Nargun once more leads his people into battle while, at the same time, revealing the path of forbidden love that rewrites Ellie’s own history.

The excerpt that follows introduces Nargun as a young man in the act of first meeting his mentor:

One

A single footprint pressed into the ground, clear evidence that someone had crept along the stony ridge towards the small stream that trickled from the foothills of the Brimstone Ranges. No member of Nargun’s clan had left such a mark. None of the children came this way, yet the footprint was that of a child. Curious, Nargun studied the area around the print with great care and interest. Throughout most of his sixteen summers he had been taught by Guterangi, the master tracker, to read the story of the bush. He crouched and lowered his face until it almost touched the ground. He sighted along the surface and immediately spotted a tiny scuffing of dirt such as might have been made by a kangaroo or bush wallaby. He knew he would have disregarded it, if he had not seen the child’s footprint nearby. Guterangi would be pleased with his clever reading of the signs.

Casting wider in search of an explanation, he picked out the faint suggestion of a concealed track. A small party had passed this way, one that did not want to be observed, too few to be hunters, certainly no war party. The presence of a child made that impossible. Instinct and tribal law required him to investigate these unfamiliar signs, but Nargun also knew that he would have to inform the clan of his actions and whereabouts. Therefore, he placed several small rocks on the path and used a sharpened stick to point the direction he intended to travel. He knew that when the guards came to relieve him they would read his signal. Checking that his war club was secured at his side, his axe and spears easily available to him, his mind alert for danger, he set out to identify the strangers travelling across his land.

There was something about these tracks that made him uneasy. For a moment, he wondered if the signs had been placed for him to find, a test perhaps, but he dismissed the idea as unlikely. Nargun opened his nostrils to the light breeze as he had been taught when trying to detect a scent. He smelt nothing but wattle and gum tree. He listened, but apart from the chirping of crickets and the snuffling of some larger animal, which he quickly identified as a wild pig, there was nothing unusual to suggest that there was any danger near at hand. He took particular note of the position of the sun. It had traversed a large part of the sky on its daily journey to bed with the mountains in the west. Nargun quickly reasoned that the intruders could not have entered Galanga lands during the daylight hours. Even the laziest of the guards would have sighted a party crossing into their territory in daylight.

Nargun paused for a momentbut then shrugged off as foolish the notion that the intruders might be visitors from the spirit world. Although such ghostly figures always preferred to move through the country at night, they were never known to leave signs of their passing. It made sense that the makers of the tracks must have entered under cover of darkness and lain hidden in the scrub until they had taken the decision to move in the slowly fading light of day. He tracked steadily onward, sharp eyes picking up the occasional overturned leaf that should not have settled on that particular stony ridge, his spear ready to do battle if the occasion presented itself. Soon the direction of the travellers’ path became clear.

The shadows were lengthening. A wagtail and a bluish-green parrot fluttered through the bushes in that lethargic way they had of resting during the afternoon heat before feeding again as night began to fall. Nargun’s quarry was heading towards the creek that trickled from the base of mighty Beerwah, the mother of all mountains. Nargun realised the intruders were searching for a place to camp for the night. He moved in total silence towards the creek, his heart thumping loudly in his chest. The signs now showed that he was on the trail of a party of three, a man, a woman and a child. The care with which the tracks were hidden suggested the skilled presence of a woman.

What would Guterangi do? Nargun thought, as visions of his younger days spent learning the craft of the bush under the old man’s strict discipline, flashed through his mind. I couldn’t have spotted them unless they’d made the mistake with the footprint. They were careless. That may cost them their lives.

A light breeze touched his cheek and went on to stir the dust on the rocky ridge. Silver-tipped leaves in the light scrub land nearby whispered among themselves, but Nargun could not understand what they might be saying. Hmm … now the strangers wander from the easy path… are they weary, I wonder? They’re not stupid – their tracks are too well concealed for the most part. Well, they won’t escape me. He thought of the great stories that would be told of his courage and his prowess as a reader of signs. He scratched his head and murmured aloud. “There’s something odd about this track… what are they doing?”

A mud lark, startled by Nargun’s movement, complained loudly at being so rudely interrupted as she began feeding. Moving quickly away from the noise, Nargun dislodged a rock, and he cursed his carelessness. Guterangi would have punished that foolish mistake, he thought, and was pleased his old teacher was not with him. “Pee-wee, shh,” Nargun whispered to the fluttering bird. “You want to tell everybody about me?” He waited until the lark had become accustomed to his presence before moving on slowly.

The creek was very close now. Nargun crouched and scanned the scrub ahead. It was near to nightfall and he strained in the gloom to catch any sign of his quarry. There! A tiny flicker of light, such as that given off by a camp fire well concealed in the dense undergrowth. He crept closer, very close, ever cautious not to alert his foes to his presence. He made his way like a wraith, silent and unchallenged. His keen nose picked up the faintest trace of wood smoke, and he paused. He was more alert than he had ever been.

A feeling, a sense of immediate danger, suddenly washed over him. There was danger here. Yet his senses told him the danger was not from the direction of the wafting fumes of the fire. He shifted his weight on to his front foot, preparatory to his next move to turn around to check his rear, when suddenly, the snake struck. Nargun had failed to notice its black skin and red belly in the tall grass beside the creek. He gasped with the sudden pain and immediately the bush around him fell silent. The snake had struck the little toe on his right foot before slithering away. Nargun knew he was in serious trouble. A sufficient dose of the reptile’s venom could kill him.

Preoccupied with the growing terror now coursing through his body, he failed to notice the imminent danger he had sensed, until he felt the point of a spear at the nape of his neck. He froze, and waited. His discovery by the people he had been tracking could now have deadly consequences long before the poison of the snake took effect. Slowly, he turned around. A tall man stood before him, the age of the cicatrices carved into his chest at an initiation ritual long ago, revealing that he was a seasoned warrior of a people unknown to Nargun. He was a striking figure, hard muscle rippling beneath his skin with each slight movement. His gaze was harsh and forbidding, and Nargun feared that the stranger’s eyes could penetrate deep into his mind and read his most secret thoughts.

Fully alert, the man quickly and with great caution, confiscated Nargun’s weapons and then jerked his chin in the direction of his camp fire. With no escape possible, Nargun did as he was directed, trying to hide the terrible pain that seemed to be flowing slowly from his toe towards his leg. At the fire, the stranger held a spear firmly at Nargun’s shoulder blades and motioned for his captive to sit. Nargun saw immediately that this was not the strangers’ camp, but merely served as a device to lure him in for eventual capture.

Like a fish to a line I took his bait, Nargun silently cursed. And missed that snake! I’m likely to die for such foolish mistakes.

He looked around. Without a word, a young woman of some twenty-five summers moved out of the darkness from where she had watched as he limped into the light of the camp fire. She studied him and then stared intently at his injured foot. Nargun saw her glance up at the warrior, her husband.

“Snake bite,” the man answered in a tongue that Nargun understood. “He’ll be very sick by sunrise,” the woman muttered. “We need to treat that wound now.” Her tongue was easy to understand. The woman glanced at her husband and he nodded his head in agreement at her unspoken question.

While the woman prepared to bathe the wound, Nargun’s captor went to a wild cherry tree which grew nearby and, with the edge of his axe, gouged a tiny opening in the bark. He removed some of the tree sap and carried it in his open palm to his wife. She poured the sticky liquid directly on to the wound, and quickly applied a paste of mud and additional sap. Then she gathered the broad leaves of a nearby tree, and vines from a creeper growing in profusion at the water’s edge, and bound Nargun’s leg tightly to a solid branch to immobilise it.

Nargun watched them both without a word. His pride had been hurt. He had allowed himself to be outsmarted by a more experienced man. It rankled that someone had caught him, Guterangi’s prize pupil, with such little effort. A little boy of about eight summers emerged from the darkness. Tentatively, ready to run if the stranger made a hostile move, the little boy obeyed his mother’s order and offered Nargun a drink from the stream. The snake bite was already making his throat dry and his temples ache, and so he accepted the offering with gratitude.

“Who are you? What are you doing in my tribal lands?” Nargun asked the man.

“My name is Gomerrigal,” the man replied. “This is my wife, Mamre, and our son, Jandarra. I see that you are a young man of the Galanga clan.” He nodded towards the newly healed scars on Nargun’s chest. “We mean no harm,” he went on. “We are of the Jukambe and travel north to seek a new home. Mamre will douse this fire and hide you farther along the creek where no one will find our camp. Eat well, then rest. You will soon feel the effects of the black snake’s anger. We will talk after the sun has risen.” Mamre glanced at her husband’s back as he slipped away between the trees.

“He’ll cover our tracks and keep watch now,” she murmured to Nargun. “If your people find us, they will kill us. We must stay hidden until you are well again.” As she spoke she rummaged in her dilly-bag and, selecting what she wanted, mixed a herb into the water she had been heating over the tiny camp fire. “Drink this,” she commanded. “The paste will draw out the badness, and this will help relieve the pain.” Nargun hesitated before complying. He glanced around for his weapons but they had been removed from sight. He watched as Mamre doused the flames and then carefully concealed all signs of their presence. With the woman helping him, he crawled for a considerable distance along the banks of the creek. No tracks marked their passing. Mamre made sure of that. He wondered once more whether the signs that he had seen were indeed meant for him, but was too fatigued to continue with the puzzle.

Settled finally deep within the shrubs lining the creek bank, he began to drowse and was soon asleep. As the night wrapped its arms about the sleeping mother and her young son, Jandarra, Nargun was briefly aware of the woman waking him to drink more of the herbal mixture. He wrinkled his nose in disgust but, shaking uncontrollably with the fever that ravaged his body, slipped back into tormented sleep. He cried out as dreams haunted him and was only vaguely aware of severe pain, and then a woman’s warm, soft body cradled him and he lapsed into unconsciousness again. As the early light appeared, Nargun woke, more recovered from the effects of the bite but still greatly weakened. His muscles ached, and his body protested every movement. The woman was sleeping and the little boy was playing quietly in the mud on the banks of the stream. The boy sprang to his feet and moved close to his father when he noticed that the captive’s eyes were upon him. Nargun glanced around and saw the piercing eyes of Gomerrigal watching.

Without a word, Gomerrigal offered him liquid. Nargun drank, for he was fiendishly thirsty. He indicated he wanted to relieve himself and, when Gomerrigal nodded towards the scrub nearby, he rose unsteadily to his feet before staggering over to a clump of long grass where he relieved the pressure on his bladder. He returned to the camp and sat facing his captor.

“My name is Nargun,” he said. “You are trespassing on Galanga land. You must know that my people will hunt you down and kill you for being here.”

Gomerrigal stared into Nargun’s face and then answered. “What you say is true,” he agreed. “Your warriors have been close by here several times already, looking for you. They have not found your tracks, and are puzzled by your disappearance. But my family has little choice.”

The sound of his voice showed the dreadful emotion that burned within his heart. “The lands of the Jukambe are overrun by white men, strangers who come in big boats in ever larger numbers. They destroy our lands; they build fences and large huts and dig up the earth without ceasing. They are greedy and powerful, and they have sticks that puff smoke and kill. They rape our women and kill our young men and laugh as my people die. They bring terrible sicknesses we have never seen before and our herbs and medicine men are useless against them. We die and they don’t care. They treat us as animals, worse than animals.” Nargun shivered at the bitterness in Gomerrigal’s voice. He found himself imagining what it must be like to be driven from the only homeland he had ever known. Could death at the hands of an enemy be preferable to remaining behind to fight alongside the warriors Gomerrigal had known from boyhood?

Nargun moved uneasily. He had heard whispers of men with white skin hanging around the red cliffs of Fishers Inlet, of strange canoes passing through the passage where, from the time of his distant forefathers, his people had harvested rich deposits of pumice stone. While not understanding the reason, he knew that apprehension, and in some cases fear, gripped his people as they tried to find out the intentions of these strange, white devils from farther south. Rumours had circulated that these men were evil, that they were despoilers of the earth which was mother to all living things, and Nargun’s leader, Wumbali, was troubled and conferred often with the tribal elders on what to do if his people met these strange beings.

Gomerrigal’s bitterness spewed forth in a torrent. “Your people are so unaware,” he snapped, “as we once were. Like you, we culled the possums, wallabies and kangaroos, enough to meet our needs, and then moved on as the seasons changed under the direction of the mighty spirit, Dhakkan. We shared our lives with great gum and flowering wattle, with bush that gave up the honey left there by the bees, and with ferns, all growing strong and upright across our lands. But now, where once the footprints of men and women, who passed through the shades into the spirit world rested undisturbed, and dense scrub gave way to rolling plains of grass as high as a man’s chest, where my people set fires to burn away the old growth so that Dhakkan could breathe into the land once more, and life burst from the seeds littered throughout the soil…all is now scoured and gone.”

Nargun said nothing and let silence develop between them. Mamre awoke and tended the fire. She began to prepare a meal. As his woman worked, Gomerrigal spoke once more. “I could have stayed and watched my family die, my wife torn by these white devils. Or we could move out of our lands and hope that others of our kind would allow us to live among them. That is what we have chosen to do. I seek your leaders to ask if we can stay with the Galanga people. I watched you and your fellow warriors guarding your borders, and I sought one of you to come to me. I needed to explain our wants to you so that you can tell your leader that we wish to join your people. We were prepared to wait, well hidden, for his answer. What I hadn’t planned on was the snake and the delay this would cause.”

“How did you know I was following you?” Nargun asked. “I tracked you since the sun was high.”

“I know how clever you thought you were when you spotted that single footprint. But in truth Mamre left it there for you to find. We did not make it easy for fear you might think you were being tested by your own people.” Gomerrigal suddenly chuckled. “You are an excellent tracker, young Nargun. I have lived for many summers and rarely have I seen a youth as clever as you at following the tracks we left you to find. As I watched, I had to tell Mamre to make our trail more and more difficult. Your elders must be very proud of their people if they are all like you.” He paused. “The snake was not part of our plan,” he added again.

Mamre handed the two men a meal of some berries, nuts and a meat that tasted like lizard, and Nargun suddenly realized he was hungry. He thanked her, ate the food with the help of a broad leaf and his fingers, and drank heavily from a bowl she had given him. “Your hunters are coming ever closer. They do not relent in their search for you. They know you are near,” Gomerrigal commented. “They are good enough to find us?” It was part question, part statement.

“Soon,” Nargun boasted. “They don’t track as well as I do, but they will eventually find you. Perhaps you don’t have to die. If you want to meet the elders of my people, I can take you to them.” Gomerrigal looked at Nargun and then glanced briefly at his wife. Mamre gave a quick nod, and Gomerrigal answered.

“I see by your markings that you have recently passed through the final stage of the ceremonies initiating you into manhood, and already you stand guard over the southern boundaries of your tribal lands. Your elders must respect your abilities since they have given you the responsibility of guarding a vulnerable border. So, we will accept your offer, Nargun. If it is to be death at the hands of your people, then we accept Dhakkan’s will. We have nowhere else to go.”

Nargun nodded at the gravity of the announcement. He also knew the custom that he was obliged to follow after having his life saved by another. “You have saved my life and fed me. Return my weapons. You have shown that Gomerrigal is a mighty hunter and Mamre a fine provider. I will take you to Wumbali, the leader of the elders, and speak of your kindness when my carelessness might have caused my death.”

Gomerrigal glanced at his wife but Mamre shook her head. “He is too weak,” she said. “He must rest another day. He is not yet well enough to travel.”

With a nod, the older man assented. Sitting and talking was sufficient to make Nargun feel much weaker as the effects of the snakebite brought on further fatigue. Throughout the day, they waited, careful to make no sound, as Nargun fought to regain his strength. Several times, warriors probed the perimeter of their camp but moved on without discovering the Jukambe family and the sleeping youth. As evening fell, Nargun awoke and had again to swallow more of Mamre’s foul mixture.

Next morning, the small group broke camp and Nargun, with his health restored enough to attempt the journey back to his village, led them through the scrub and taller timbers of the forest. He disturbed the busy sounds of the birds with a call of “Cooee!” that echoed through the hills, and soon the worried faces of his clansmen appeared out of the bush.

Enjoy? Want More? I do.

61pH8rkkJhL._SL1125_Review 1

To find this review of Nargun, go to http://reviews.media-culture.org.au/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5692

Draft Review 2 (to be submitted to the url above when fixed)

NARGUN

Reviewed by Martin Knox (author of Love Straddle)

In Nargun, author Ian Lipke has written an historical, fictional account of the aborigines’ response to white settlement in the Maroochy hinterland of Queensland. My reading has authenticated the plausibility of the narrative from records of subsequent events and anthropological investigations at other locations where aborigines lived and suffered from settlement by whites.

There is dissent amongst commentators on the preparedness of aborigines for conflict and their military success in opposition to armed incursions by settlers.

[The point needs to be made that Lipke goes out of his way to stress that his is a work of fiction. There is no suggestion of subterfuge – the Afterword makes clear that, in the aboriginal psyche (at least in Victoria) a Nargun was believed to exist, but Lipke discovered this only when the novel had been completed. Note the following:

“Matter related to aboriginal customs might have been true but are mostly the fictional outpourings of a writer’s mind. If they fit the story, they have a place in it.”

“Nargun lives in a world of fiction but, who knows, his story may well have been true.” (both quotes from the introductory pages of the book). If the story warranted it, then the author deliberately took liberties with the facts of aboriginal life and custom]

The story describes the lifestyle of an aboriginal encampment before Europeans arrived. It was mostly peaceful as the people went about their routines. Lipke’s story focuses on the infrequent fights with neighbours, itinerants trespassing on their traditional territory and white settlers coming from the south to take over their lands.

The story is summarised as follows.

A young academic hears a stirring story from the lips of an old aboriginal elder. She tells the story of Nargun. Nargun is a young warrior who through his tracking and fighting skills rises to be an elder and war chief of his clan. His supporters include his parents and the huge man Bukbunna. Nargun expects to marry Woreena, but she is killed through a peer’s treachery. Mary, a white settler’s daughter, comes into his life and runs away from her brute of a father to be with him. For three amorous seasons she lives as a native, naked, until the elders insist she is taken home. There she tries to plead for the aborigines’ humanity and rights but the message falls on deaf ears.

In the first half of the book, Nargun and the Galanga are concerned with the predations of their Muareg and Maroochy neighbours. The threat from white settlers is distant but arrives in force in the second half. Linking the two, the main plot concerns Mary, who loves Nargun. His loyalty to his wife limits his response. The tribe make him take Mary home. This single act symbolises the enmity that climaxes in the slaughter and near extinction of the clan.

Lipke has depicted important events that could have occurred near the Glasshouse Mountains area of Queensland early in the 19th century. In the review that follows are comments relating Nargun to other historical aboriginal fiction of the times.

The literature abounds with accounts of aboriginal lifestyles at the time of invasion by Europeans. Lipke provides important details of idyllic camp life for these nomadic Australian aborigines. They depended on a wide range of foods they hunted and gathered in the natural environment before moving on. It is a story revealing how aborigines were living when they first encountered white settlers, before they had realised that there would be no compromise in ownership of the land. Aborigines fought for their land against the invaders, just as they had against neighbouring tribes. It was winner-takes-all guerrilla warfare with pitched battles.

Other books and movies showing aborigines before the coming of the white men seem to have glossed over their prodigious fighting skills as if they either were not able to use them or did not try, with some suggestion of cowardice. For example the movie Ten Canoes (2010) focussed on conflict within the clan. My own book, The Grass Is Always Browner, (Zeuss, 2011), extols their unique sharing traditions that extended even to reciprocal sharing with neighbouring tribes, so that they could cross their land and get access to water and food in a drought. Ian Lipke’s novel diminishes that perspective, with a story that describes their frequent involvement in tracking and fighting.

In Lipke’s story, an aboriginal clan is shown to be preoccupied with guarding its territory and its resources, resulting in battles with adjoining tribes in which many warriors are killed, their women stolen, with their children and old folk hidden away in fear of their lives. There is collaboration between tribes in resisting the white man. Some books focus on the early cooperation with white settlers that took place. Later on, when the usurper herded them onto concentration camps such as at Cherbourg in Queensland, stories such as those in Albert Holt’s book Forcibly Removed, (Magabala, 2001), suggest that the survivors clung to their separate tribal identities during privations and rarely united in opposition against their oppressor. In Mullumbimby, Lucashenko tells of a looming native title war in northern New South Wales, between aboriginal families who inherit land neglected by whites in recent times. In similar vein, Jessica White in her novel Entitlement (Penguin, 2013), describes the gentle and combat-averse inheritors of lands that white men no longer care for.

These aborigines are chalk and cheese from those Lipke writes about.

‘…The few men who escaped staggered to Tibrogargan’s base and hid in the heavy scrub there. They regrouped as the night wore on.

‘It is as bad as I thought it might be,’ Nargun muttered. ‘We still have two choices,’ he told the men. ‘We can steal away under cover of darkness and try to find a new home somewhere away from here, or we can take the fight to the whites while they think they have beaten us.’

Bukbunna’s rage at the death of his family and friends boiled over. ‘There is no choice for me,’ he roared. ‘I will fight here this very night, and if Dhakkan calls, I will die! I will not live while these savages roam my lands. I will kill them!’ There were murmurs of agreement, every man seeking vengeance.

‘Then we go after them now,’ Nargun ordered, ‘while they are gloating over their victory….’ 

I found Nargun to be a page-turning story of an idyllic lifestyle marred by adventurous inter-tribal warfare with cataclysmic conflict with white settler militias in prospect. The ecological wonderland of Australia’s eastern coast is revealed, in eucalypt woodlands and rainforests.

Keith Windschuttle’s book ‘The Fabrication of Aboriginal History’ Volume 1, 2002, has fuelled the controversy between the two camps. It is a scholarly work and his dismissal of the supposed genocide in Tasmania is consistent with Lipke’s portrayal of a warrior race beaten by diseases and superior arms.

Lipke’s story contains true geographical features, legends and historical personages. The aboriginal customs are often fictional but accord with my previous knowledge from my reading. The characters, both aboriginal and white, have depth and are believable. The author creates suspense from threats of violence and sustains them as Nargun prepares for and teaches how to resist the incursions by either defence or attack.

The story has wonderful descriptions of flora and fauna and the minute signs the hero uses to track enemies. There is also lovely detail describing how he prepares his weapons. In the preparations for fighting, Nargun and his people are shown to understand the psychology of their foes and apply sophisticated strategies to defence and attack. There is nothing of the gentle and naive natives, whose peacefulness some writers have revered when deducing genocide. The whites are shown to be unfeeling and barbaric, with very few exceptions. Perhaps if there had been better white leadership, the aborigines might have been respected, as the Maoris were in NZ. But there were fewer indigenous Australians and the war-game was zero sum from the start. Nargun might be regarded as pessimistic in relation to contemporary aboriginal aspirations for land ownership but that would be a superficial evaluation.

Nargun is a tale that celebrates a resilient culture and fighting spirit that contemporary aborigines can hope to regain, with the encouragement of other Australians. But commentators who froth at the mouth when confronted by practices that are questionable should take a cold shower and remember that they were warned that this is a work of fiction with a tale that is meant to be enjoyed.

Other informal comments:

“An imaginative reconstruction of a sordid period in our nation’s history. We are swept along with Nargun on his quest for the freedom to live as his people had always done. The narrative surges like a king tide and leaves us stranded on the beach of life, somewhat lessened by the tragedy that has unfolded.”

“A fantastic, fictitious account of the life and times of a mythical leader in indigenous Australia. Nargun epitomises all the manly virtues. An excellent story for all those men and women who love an old-fashioned romantic adventure.”

Nargun

by Ian Lipke,

http://www.booklocker.com

ISBN 9781291499216

Recommended price $22.99; 276 pages.

 

 

 

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One thought on “Nargun – An Australian Novel

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nargun. Ian Lipke describes the land, Aboriginal lifestyles and their fighting prowess as the white invaders first encountered them.There is a culture shock that continues to today. We are left in no doubt that the 50,000 years of Aboriginal occupation produced a happy people with a sustainable lifestyle. To the shame of the invaders, they responded with murder and even genocide. This book shows what the World has lost.

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