I read The Secret River in a week, which is usually a good sign, but not in this case.
I had heard good things about the book, and Sands really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading it, but as I turned each page I found myself wondering what all the fuss had been about (in terms of the book not the subject matter), and when it would start to get ‘interesting’.
The subject matter – convict shipped to Australia in the 1800’s, achieving a pardon, then reclaiming land from the Aborigines – is a powerful story that (still) doesn’t seem to be resolved and which nobody should be proud of. While reading this book I spoke a few times to an Australian lady here who works with the Aborigines, and the fact that the process of claiming the land off them is still ongoing sort of made the book seem like it was making light of a serious subject.
I found the book somewhat glib and lightweight, and wouldn’t recommend it.