Daisy Bates in the Desert: A Woman's Life Among the Aborigines
Daisy Bates in the Desert A Woman's Life Among the Aborigines Author:Julia Blackburn In 1913, when she was fifty-four years old, Daisy Bates went to live in the deserts of South Australia. — And there she stayed, with occasional interruptions, for almost thirty years. She left a detailed record of her life in her letters, her published articles, her book The Passing of the Aborigines, and in notes scribbled on paper bags... more », old railway timetables, and even scraps of newspaper.
But very little of what this strange woman tells about herself is true. For her there were no boundaries separating experience from imagination; she inhabited a world filled with events that could not have taken place, with people she had never met.
In Daisy Bates in the Desert Julia Blackburn explores the ancient and desolate landscape where Mrs. Bates says she was most happy. There are meetings with the Aborigines and whites who knew her or about her, and slowly the facts of her life are allowed to emerge. But what makes this book so extraordinary is the way that, almost imperceptibly, the author fuses her own imagination and experience with that of Daisy Bates, until she seems to be recalling this other life as if it were her own, until she is able to bring us the feeling of sitting in a tent near a railway line, staring out across a red desert, where the boundary between experience and imagination disappears.« less
ISBN-13: 9780679420019 ISBN-10: 0679420010 Publication Date: 8/9/1994 Pages:232 Edition:1st American ed Rating:
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.