An exquisitely written, heartbreaking and hopeful novel of culture, language, tradition, suffering and empowerment
‘A groundbreaking novel for black and white Australia’ Richard Flanagan, Man Booker Prize winning author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Knowing that he will soon die, Albert “Poppy” Gondiwindi has one final task he must fulfill. A member of the indigenous Wiradjuri tribe, he has spent his adult life in Prosperous House and the town of Massacre Plains, a small enclave on the banks of the Murrumby River. Before he takes his last breath, Poppy is determined to pass on the language of his people, the traditions of his ancestors, and everything that was ever remembered by those who came before him. The land itself aids him; he finds the words on the wind.
After his passing, Poppy’s granddaughter, August, returns home from Europe, where she has lived the past ten years, to attend his burial. Her overwhelming grief is compounded by the pain, anger, and sadness of memory―of growing up in poverty before her mother’s incarceration, of the racism she and her people endured, of the mysterious disappearance of her sister when they were children; an event that has haunted her and changed her life. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends and honor Poppy and her family, she vows to save their land―a quest guided by the voice of her grandfather that leads into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.
Told in three masterfully woven narratives, The Yield is a celebration of language and an exploration of what makes a place “home.” A story of a people and a culture dispossessed, it is also a joyful reminder of what once was and what endures―a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling, and identity, that offers hope for the future.
Reviews of The Yield
- ‘A beautifully written novel that puts language at the heart of remembering the past and understanding the present’ Kate Morton
- ‘A testament to the saving grace of language itself, and to the corrosive consequences when it falls out of use and disappears’ Wall Street Journal
- ‘Unmissable’ Guardian
- ‘A deep and affecting novel, one of the summer’s literary must-reads’ Bustle
- ‘The Peoples, languages and wildlife of Australia have been purposely decimated for a great many years. The history of this vast land is a tragic one and this young Indigenous author has taken it on in a graceful act of retrieval and witness. The dictionary and use of Wiradjuri words is transporting. Birrabuwawanha—to return, to come back. The Yield is a fine novel, and one not without hope’ Joy Williams, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Quick and the Dead
- ‘Mesmerising and important’ Melissa Lucashenko, 2019 Miles Franklin award-winning author of Too Much Lip
- ‘Winch offers a stark account of how Aboriginal peoples are ignored, abused and their cultural beliefs stomped on, [but] The Yield’s final message is one of hope’ Buzzfeed