cover image Born into This

Born into This

Adam Thompson. Two Dollar Radio, $15.99 trade paper (188p) ISBN 978-1-953387-04-2

Thompson portrays a group of Aboriginal communities in Tasmania in his riveting debut collection. Stories of brutal weather and angry bees, urban protests and remote islands, trace the tether between Tasmanian Aboriginal people and their ancestral lands. In “Invasion Day,” a demonstration in support of Aboriginal rights during Australia Day turns tense with taunts from white passersby, prompting the narrator to douse an Australian flag in lighter fluid and threaten to set it ablaze. In “The Old Tin Mine,” an Aboriginal survival camp for boys suffers due to the camp leader’s drug addiction and the effects of climate change. The protagonists of “Descendant” and “The Blackfellas from Here” use their wit and passion to cleverly push back against racism in their communities. The author movingly describes their resilience, whether facing aggressive storms or the terror of colonization. At the heart of these stories is the natural world, which serves as a constant symbol of survival for those who, as Thompson writes in the title story, are “born into a hostile world and expected to thrive.” Thompson’s strengths are in his exquisite descriptions of nature (“Snow gums erupted from the shattered shale, their twisting boughs flexing skyward, like fingers on an upturned hand”), as well as his memorable voice. This shows great promise. (July)