Where the Fruit Falls
By Karen Wyld
Winner of the 2020 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript
An ancient ocean roars under the red dirt. Hush. Be still for just a moment. Hear its thundering waves crashing on unseen shores.
Spanning four generations, with a focus on the 1960s and 70s, an era of rapid social change and burgeoning Aboriginal rights, Where the Fruit Falls is a re-imagining of the epic Australian novel.
Brigid Devlin, a young Aboriginal woman, and her twin daughters navigate a troubled nation of First Peoples, settlers and refugees – all determined to shape a future on stolen land. Leaving the sanctuary of her family’s apple orchard, Brigid sets off with no destination and a willy wagtail for company. As she moves through an everchanging landscape, Brigid unravels family secrets to recover what she’d lost – by facing the past, she finally accepts herself. Her twin daughters continue her journey with their own search for self-acceptance, truth and justice.
In poetic and evocative storytelling, this writing celebrates the agency of Indigenous women to traverse ever-present landscapes of colonisation and intergenerational trauma. Country has an omniscient presence in their story lines, guiding the women across vivid desert and coastal landscapes. Where the Fruit Falls recognises both the open wounds of living histories of colonisation and the healing power of belonging to Country.
2020 Dorothy Hewett Award judges
Wyld’s ability to evoke a sensory experience is noteworthy. She writes tenderly about the omniscient Dreaming; the crisp sound of fire; the juices of freshly cooked roo trickling down hungry chins. The grounding of ‘hot red dirt country’ and the secrets it holds concealed, accounts of massacres and continual ruin inflicted on First Nations people. The wild vibration of an ocean once thought to be mythical, only to be undeniably seen and heard, as recounted by fellow roamers met along the way. Where the Fruit Falls is a heartening text, both charming and poignant – a thoughtful tale that feels like a warm hug from a beloved grandmother.
The Australian Book Review
Good Reading Magazine
Publication date: October 2020
Page extent: 320 pages
Size: B-format paperback