Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray: River of Dreams by Anita Heiss
Gundagai, 1852 The powerful Murrumbidgee River surges through town leaving death and destruction in its wake. It is a stark reminder that while the river can give life, it can just as easily take it away. Wagadhaany is one of the lucky ones. She survives. But is her life now better than the fate she escaped? Forced to move away from her miyagan, she walks through each day with no trace of dance in her step, her broken heart forever calling her back home to Gundagai. When she meets Wiradyuri stockman Yindyamarra, Wagadhaany’s heart slowly begins to heal. But still, she dreams of a better life, away from the degradation of being owned. She longs to set out along the river of her ancestors, in search of lost family and country. Can she find the courage to defy the White man’s law? And if she does, will it bring hope … or heartache?
Set on timeless Wiradyuri country, where the life-giving waters of the rivers can make or break dreams, and based on devastating true events, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams) is an epic story of love, loss and belonging.
Praise for Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams) ‘Engrossing and wonderful storytelling. I really loved these strong, brave Wiradyuri characters.’ – Melissa Lucashenko, author of Too Much Lip ‘A powerful story of family, place and belonging.’ – Kate Grenville, author of A Room Made of Leaves ‘A remarkable story of courage and a love of country. The tenacity of an Aboriginal woman, Wagadhaany, is made possible by the deep strength of the earth she walks on … It is a story that hums with contemporary resonance. Anita Heiss writes with heart and energy on every page of this novel.’ – Tony Birch, author of The White Girl ‘This is a book to sink into. Lyrical and tender, Anita Heiss’s Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray tells a story of courage, connection and belonging which is both universal and deeply personal, with the river singing through every page. A grand achievement and destined to be read for a long time to come.’ – Meg Keneally, author of Fled and The Wreck ‘Anita Heiss is at the height of her storytelling powers in this inspiring, heart-breaking, profound tale that explores the deep, eternal connection to country and the resilience of the human heart. Wagadhaany is a timeless heroine who reminds us of the steps our ancestors walked.’ – Larissa Behrendt, filmmaker and author ‘It’s so incredible to hear the story of Australia’s colonial past through the eyes of an indigenous woman … I loved the use of the Wiradjuri language throughout – it’s a paean to an ancient culture steeped in myth and song and storytelling … The novel flows like the great Murrumbidgee River itself, with powerful undercurrents that sweep the reader along – I feel it’s a book that all Australians should read, to try and understand why our colonial past still causes so much pain and grievance.’ – Kate Forsyth, author of The Blue Rose
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