This book is atypical for a biography--it's primarily written in first person as in an autobiography. The prose is lyrical and remote, as if we are listening to the subject--now a demented old woman--as her life flashes before her eyes. The Aboriginies are depicted casually as one would describe friends, rather than as the subject of an anthropological study. The appropriate audience for this book are people who enjoy reading poetry and will read a book for the beauty of its language rather than the character of its content.
Diana (Madikiks) reviewed Daisy Bates in the Desert : A Woman's Life Among the Aborigines (Vintage Departures) on
Helpful Score: 1
From Publishers Weekly
Blackburn ( The Emperor's Last Island ) here presents a biography of the extraordinarily determined and independent Daisy Bates who, in 1913, at age 54, removed herself from England to Australia's red desert outback as a self-appointed champion of the Aborigines. She remained there until her death in 1956. She not only shared the Aborigines way of life but so gained their confidence that she was made privy to the men's secret rites. The author traces Bates's steps and draws on her voluminous notebooks and letters, which reveal her as an acute observer of nature and a gifted writer whose works were imbued with dreams and hallucinations. Blackburn superbly fills in gaps with her own research and sympathetic imagination, while preserving the enchantment that Bates herself wove.
Was Daisy a liar? Was she just crazy? Was Daisy Bates in touch with the spirits of the land of Australia and beyond connecting with white people on the mundane level after that? I really loved this book.