Background to The Heaven I Swallowed

She let go of the screen door and it slammed shut, echoing in the quiet. For a moment, I could only see her eyes, almost separate from the rest of her. They held something, something long lost to me. She dissolved into the darkness and I stood alone on the concrete, flexing my hands. Abo, nigger, darky. Abo, nigger, darky.

In post-World War II Sydney, Grace Smith takes Mary, a young Aboriginal girl, into her home believing she will be able to save the child by giving her all the benefits of white society. But Mary’s arrival has unexpected consequences as Grace’s past comes back to haunt, and condemn, her.

Runner-Up in the Australian/Vogel award, The Heaven I Swallowed is a tale of the Stolen Generations, told from the perspective of the white perpetrator.

‘Accomplished, challenging and rewarding in a quietly subversive way. Grace is a memorable monster and the tale of her self-centred, self-delusional treatment of Mary, of her absent husband and of herself, is horribly engrossing … intelligent writing that covers so much so succinctly, with a deft touch.’

–          Murray Waldren, journalist, The Australian

 ‘Utterly compelling. Grace is a powerful creation.’

– Marele Day, author of Lambs of God

 ‘An ambitious and accomplished treatment of the Stolen Generations that remarkably manages not to excuse or condemn its perpetrator, but draws her as a complete human being with an impressive set of delusions.’

– Matt Rubinstein, author of A Little Rain On Thursday





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