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Mon April 21, 2014
Book News: 'Rabbit-Proof Fence' Author Doris Pilkington Garimara Dies
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
• Doris Pilkington Garimara, the aboriginal author who wrote of the forced separation of mixed-race aboriginal children from their families, died on April 10. She was thought to be 76. Garimara's novel Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence was based on the story of her mother, one of the so-called Stolen Generation, who was taken from her family and placed in a government settlement. She escaped with two other girls and walked more than 1,000 miles through the Australian wilderness. Garimara, too, was a member of the Stolen Generation and grew up in a mission believing she had been abandoned by her mother. "[W]hile we were in the mission, again, we were continually told, you know, that the Aboriginal culture was evil ... [a]nd the people who practiced it were pagans and devil worshippers," she said in a 2003 interview. Reunited years later, Garimara's mother told her the story of her escape, which became a novel and then a celebrated film.
• Michele Glazer has a poem titled "Issue" in the Boston Review:
We have arrived at what we dread: the
diminution of loved ones, livid
and unmistakable lapses, quick
angers that lap at, lick at
that is the one certain shore.
The Best Books Coming Out This Week:
• Lisa Robinson began reporting at a time when rock journalism "was in its infancy and mostly populated by boys who had ambitions to become the next Norman Mailer," she writes in her pleasantly gossipy memoir, There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll. Her memories of some of music's biggest legends, from Mick Jagger to Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga (whom she describes as "a cute girl in her twenties who had really good manners"), animate this book, though Robinson sometimes gets a little too misty with nostalgia.
• Francine Prose's Lovers At the Chameleon Club, 1932 follows Lou Villars, a French lesbian racecar driver who spied for the Nazis. Told by competing narrators, the book is more a story about the unreliability of memory and storytelling than a tale about Lou. The book is flawed, mostly because of its habit of assigning ever-more elaborate identities (lesbian Nazi racecar driver, wealthy baroness who worked for the Resistance) to its characters rather than developing them as people. But it also makes a persuasive point about the ways that the authors of history have their own agendas.