“It was true what people said: every old one left a hole in the world when they died, when they took language with them. That old language was a world itself, and one by one the words let you in.” – Kim Scott, Taboo

Set in the Wirlomin Noongar Country along the southern coast of Western Australia, Kim Scott’s Taboo offers a poetic story of community grief and healing. The novel is centred upon the opening of a local Peace Park, which commemorates a local massacre site. It follows teenage protagonist, Tilly, as she confronts troubled histories and embraces her Noongar heritage.

Taboo is Scott’s fifth novel, following multi award-winning titles Benang and That Deadman Dance, among others. With his distinctive writing style that presents brutal truths with elegant lyricism, Scott tells a story that decolonises a whitewashed history by singing the song of place.

The Stories from the South Book Club will meet live at Dymocks Bookstore Rundle Mall on October 31, 2023, at 6.30-8pm for a discussion of Taboo.

This will be an in-person conversation between Kim Scott, and Stephen Muecke, author and translator of many works including Reading the Country and Ancient and Modern. At the Book Club, participants will have the opportunity to contribute and ask questions.

Register here for this free public event. Copies of Taboo can be purchased at Dymocks Rundle Mall or sourced from libraries or electronically.

Nick Jose, Meg Samuelson and Shannon Burns in conversation at the September Book Club event for Stories from the South. Credit: David Osu Ishaya

At the last Book Club in September, we read Boyhood by JM Coetzee. Nicholas Jose facilitated an enriching discussion with author Shannon Burns and scholar Meg Samuelson, who each shared their personal connections to Coetzee’s evocative memoir. The event was uniquely structured to encourage contributions from participants. As we engaged in lively and robust conversation, surprising connections were drawn between South Africa and South Australia, and reflections were shared on how fiction can shape our connections to place and environment.

A Reading Guide for Taboo will be released soon. Follow InReview and the website’s Stories from the South page for further updates on the Stories from the South program.


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