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Book Club, Hotel

July Book Club: Edenglassie

Our July Book Club novel Edenglassie tells two extraordinary Indigenous stories set five generations apart. Longlisted for the 2024 Miles Franklin Literary Award, multi-award-winning Goorie novelist Melissa Lucashenko has crafted a story that divides its time between the 1800s and 2024 and provides a masterclass in humour, hope and generosity.

Edenglassie weaves together a dual timeline of the lives of colonial-era and contemporary characters in one seamless setting, Brisbane/Meanjin. Lucashenko beautifully applies the Indigenous understanding of time as cyclical rather than linear – with the novel looping seamlessly from past to future.

In this foray into historical fiction, Lucashenko balances a tale of a past when First Nations people outnumbered the colonists with its impact on the present day. She connects the past to our present and looks with hope to the future and reconciliation.

In the past we are introduced to a Yugambeh man Mulanyin and his burgeoning love for Nita, a Ngugi woman residing as a servant with a settler family. We are also introduced to Indigenous resistance leader, Dundalli whose public hanging in 1855, underscores the horror at the core of this narrative.

Accompanying the historical story line is a contemporary tale set in 2024, focusing on reconciliation, cultural survival and renewal. Granny Eddie Blanket, a Yagara elder in her 90s, and her granddaughter Winona traverse the history of the colonial violence and the legacy of dispossession that has carried through to present day.

Edenglassie offers a rich exploration of generational dynamics within First Nations communities. Lucashenko examines the mirror issues of prejudice and violence across two different time periods. She couples it however with warm characters that display compassion, resilience, humour and hope for a way forward.

Synopsis: Edenglassie

Two extraordinary Indigenous stories set five generations apart. When Mulanyin meets the beautiful Nita in Edenglassie, their saltwater people still outnumber the British. As colonial unrest peaks, Mulanyin dreams of taking his bride home to Yugambeh Country, but his plans for independence collide with white justice. Two centuries later, fiery activist Winona meets Dr Johnny. Together they care for obstinate centenarian Granny Eddie, and sparks fly, but not always in the right direction. What nobody knows is how far the legacies of the past will reach into their modern lives. In this brilliant epic novel, Melissa Lucashenko torches Queensland’s colonial myths, while reimagining an Australian future.

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