Review Blog

May 24 2012

Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann

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Magabala Books, 2012. ISBN 9781921248511.
Highly recommended, especially for Secondary students. This verse novel succinctly and poignantly tells the story of sixteen year old lubra, Ruby, who alone survives the massacre of her family by whites in South Australia's mid-north. She has an illegal liaison with a reclusive thirty year old Irish trapper, Jack, and they find solace in each other. Suspense grips each page as their relationship is threatened not only by an old aboriginal warrior who wants Ruby but also by the white racist society out to destroy 'diseased' aboriginals. Ruby has the spirit guardian, Kuman, to protect her, but can he save her and Jack from a lynching party?
This tightly written novel has a haunting title to each page-long poem. Its phrases and images linger in the mind,
'earthen thighs hide a sacred spring', ' life is doomed to drought' and 'the soft staccato symphony of raindrops'. A white man is a 'smoking ash ghost.'
Lyrical, accessible and memorable, this page turner captures Australian history, black and white relationships, aboriginal spirituality and the beauty and power of the natural world.
Kevyna Gardner

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