A Kindness Cup

Text Classics

Thea Astley,

A Kindness Cup: Text Classics
 
 

I told them to go into the scrub and disperse the tribe.

Disperse? That is a strange word. What do you mean by dispersing?

Firing at them.

Two decades after a massacre of local Aboriginal people, the former residents of a Queensland town have reunited to celebrate the progress and prosperity of their community. Tom Dorahy, returning to his hometown, is having none of it: he wants those responsible to own up to their actions. A reckoning with oppression, guilt and the weight of the past, A Kindness Cup is one of Thea Astley’s greatest achievements.

Thea Astley was born in Brisbane in 1925. Her first novel, Girl with a Monkey, was published in 1958 and her third, The Well Dressed Explorer (1962), won the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Many notable books followed, among them the groundbreaking A Kindness Cup (1974), which addressed frontier massacres of Indigenous Australians, and It’s Raining in Mango (1987). Her last novel was Drylands (1999), her fourth Miles Franklin winner. Her fiction is distinguished by vivid imagery and metaphor; a complex, ironic style; and a desire to highlight oppression and social injustice. One of the most distinctive and influential Australian novelists of the twentieth century, Astley died in 2004.

‘Smart, compassionate.’ New York Times

‘One of the earliest and most empathetic postwar engagements by a white Australian writer with the horrors of nineteenth-century racial violence.’ Australian Book Review

‘This timely and attractively priced reissue is a welcome chance to reconsider [Astley’s] rich oeuvre. Astley’s work is characterised by her irony and unflinching scrutiny of social injustice. In A Kindness Cup, she was at the top of her impressive form…This short novel is one of Australia’s finest.’ Stuff NZ



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