The Drover’s Wife by Leah Purcell
The Drover’s Wife is utterly authentic, brilliantly plotted, thoroughly harrowing and entirely of our times exploring race, gender, violence and inheritance.
Deep in the heart of Australia’s high country, along an ancient, hidden track, live Molly Johnson and her children. Husband Joe is away droving, leaving his family in the bush to fend for itself. Molly’s children are her world, and life is hard with only their dog, Alligator, and a shotgun for protection – but it can be harder when Joe’s around.
Molly’s eldest son Danny is the true man of the house, determined to see his mother and siblings safe – from raging floodwaters, hunger and intruders. Danny is mature, but there are some things no child should see. He knows more than most just what it takes to be a drover’s wife.
One night, Molly has a visitor – a black ‘story keeper’, Yadaka. He’s on the run from authorities, and exchanges kindness for shelter. Both know that justice in this nation caught between two worlds can be as brutal as its landscape. But in their short time together Yadaka shows Molly a secret truth, and the strength to imagine a different path.
In this brave reimagining of the Henry Lawson short story that has become an Australian classic, Purcell brings us a compelling thriller of our pioneering past that confronts head-on issues of today- race, gender, violence and inheritance.