Benang by Kim Scott
This deeply poignant and haunting story is narrated by Harvey, who describes himself as “the first-born-successfully-white-man-in-the-family-line”. From the age of seven he goes to live with his grandfather, who runs a boarding house mainly inhabited by alcoholic men. It is here that he is “raised to carry on one heritage, and ignore another” but as a teenager he begins to “reconsider who I am”.
In that search for self, Harvey comes to slowly understand his place in the family line — “the product of a long and considered process” to create a white man from a long line of people with aboriginal blood. This process has been overseen by his grandfather as part of a bold — and disturbing — scientific experiment in which he has been trying to “breed out” the aboriginal blood in successive generations in order to achieve “biological and social absorption”, to “dilute the strain” and to “uplift a despised race”.
Call Number: F SCO
Publication Date: 1999-08-01