Heart of the Grass Tree by Molly Murn

1. Last lines of the book. 2. Publisher: Penguin 3. Kangaroo Island grasstree By DiverDave Licence: [CC BY-SA 4.0] via wikimedia 4. Kangaroo Island South Australia. State Library of South Australia Licence [CC BY 2.0] via flickr
I really liked this book.
An important and little-known part of Australia’s history.

This is the story of Nell and her family, whose ancestors lived on Kangaroo Island. It’s the story of the island’s early European sealers and their first contact with the Ngarrindjeri people. When Nell dies, her family history is revealed to her daughters through stories, poems and art left behind.

“These strange pale men are too loud in their thinking, in their talking, in their walking, to really hear anything, to really see anything at all. Skulls too thin for this bright sun.”

“They can build ships all right, and that magic drink that makes them wild and as awkward as seals out of water, they can make that. And those beautiful bottles of glass. Oh yes, they are clever in their own way. They know how to grow things that don’t belong, so you don’t have to always go looking for tucker. But what will they do when all the seals are gone? It seems to Maringani that these pale men just want lots and lots of one thing. Won’t everything start to fall apart?”

“Kinyeri, the heart of the grass tree, water when there is none. It fits perfectly in her hands, white and vulnerable, and she is sorry to take the heart from the tree. Now, it will die.?

Quotes from the book.
  • Readings: “Heart of the Grass Tree is a story, richly told, of the landscape of Australian history – both emotional and physical – and the way we record these stories of place.”
  • The Adelaide Review: “Adelaide author Molly Murn doesn’t shy away from the darker side of Kangaroo Island’s history in her debut novel.”

Author’s website: Molly Murn

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