Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko – Our Review


Our Review…

I often wonder what Australia would be like today if our colonisers had found a way to work with and learn from our First Peoples instead of seeing them as not human and trying to eradicate them. Melissa Lucashenko’s powerful novel Edenglassie has a strong message of ‘it didn’t have to be like this’ as it moves between the 1850s and 2024 in what we now call Brisbane, while also considering ‘where to now’.

It’s the 1850s in Edenglassie (an area of Brisbane where many Scots had settled, named as a combination of Edinburgh and Glasgow) and only a few short years ago the Indigenous population outnumbered the colonisers. Now there are settlements springing up everywhere, land is cleared, people are displaced and waterways are over fished. It’s a time of violence and unrest; a time when a man like Mulanyin, who dreams of returning to his Country with his new bride, collides with brutal white justice.

In 2024,’Queensland’s oldest Aborigine’ is in hospital after a fall. We hear her stories as she recounts them to an interested historian and meet her fiery activist granddaughter Winona (a character reminiscent of Too Much Lip’s Kerry). Granny Eddie is also visited by a spirit, a connection to the past, though she’s not sure who it is.

Moving between the 1850s and 2024 Edenglassie is a powerful story that brings to light the harrowing realities of colonisation, while also looking to the future with optimism. It forces us to confront the horrors of the past but through a fascinating and beautifully told story that highlights the Indigenous connection with past, present and future that white man could learn so much from.

Review by Andi @ Great Escape Books