A captivating Australian saga from the winner of the 2018 black&write! fellowship.
Darnmoor is the home of the Billymil family, three generations who have lived in this ‘gateway town’. Race relations between Indigenous and settler families are fraught, though the rigid status quo is upheld through threats and soft power rather than the overt violence of yesteryear.
As progress marches forwards, Darnmoor and its surrounds undergo rapid social and environmental changes, but as some things change, some stay exactly the same. The Billymil family are watched (and sometimes visited) by ancestral spirits and spirits of the recently deceased, who look out for their descendants and attempt to help them on the right path.
When the town’s secrets start to be uncovered the town will be rocked by a violent act that forever shatters a century of silence.
Full of music, Yuwaalaraay language and exquisite description, Song of the Crocodile is a lament to choice and change, and the unyielding land that sustains us all, if only we could listen to it.
Nardi Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay storyteller from NSW’s north west freshwater plains. A musician, composer and playwright, Nardi is the author of Song of the Crocodile. The 2018 winner of the Black&Write Fellowship, Song of the Crocodile was shortlisted for both the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (Indigenous Writing) and as well as the Indie Book Awards (Debut Fiction). While working on her second novel, Nardi is also undertaking a PhD in composition at ANU School of Music researching song and story traditions of her beloved Yuwaalaraay homelands.
Nardi Simpson’s Song of the Crocodile is an incredibly important book, both as the herald of an exciting new talent to Australia’s literary industry, as well as a novel that contributes to a deeper understanding of Australia’s history, and tells the stories of First Nations people in a voice and tone that has for so long been missing from our literary canon.
Exploring the experiences of a First Nations community living on the outskirts of a rural town, Song of the Crocodile focuses on four generations of one family as a vessel to explore the insidious and generational impacts of racism, colonialism and violence.
Simpson doesn’t shy away from the complexity and nuance of the characters, who are at once survivors, victims and perpetrators of trauma grounded in dispossession and injustice. However, nor does she deny these characters joy and meaning in their lives – bringing their stories to the page with great tenderness and lyricism. This book is necessary reading for all Australians.
‘In Song of the Crocodile, Yuwaalaraay author Nardi Simpson makes a lightning debut.’ Kill Your Darlings
‘A musician’s sensibility to voice and rhythm enhances this engrossing lyrical tale… prosaic and beautiful.’ Jane Sullivan, Australian Book Review