Too Much Lip

Winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award and a finalist for the Stella Prize, this intense yet sensitive dark comedy by Australian Goorie-European author Melissa Lucashenko (Mullumbimby) never holds back in its portrayal of an Indigenous family in crisis. "A stranger rode into town, only it wasn't a stranger, it was Kerry," roaring into tiny Durrongo on a new Softail to see her dying paternal grandfather, a Goorie Elder with a complicated past. Also assembling are unmotivated older brother Ken; tarot-reading, born-again mother Pretty Mary; and younger brother Black Superman, city dweller, proud gay man and family success story.

Tensions rise, but real trouble comes when they learn Durrongo's white mayor wants to build a prison on their ancestral land. Though united by injustice, the members of the Salter family feel like strangers to each other and themselves. Ken loses control of his anger. Kerry, who dates women and never "whitenormalsavages," shocks herself by falling for a white man. Black Superman struggles to balance his city and hometown responsibilities. When an astonishing avalanche of family secrets emerges, the Salters must find ways to move forward through generational trauma.

Crows talk and ancestors appear in this #ownvoices triumph about a family who find each other difficult to live with but impossible to stop loving. Too Much Lip's stark honesty illuminates a version of Indigenous life, the crippling influence of colonization and the hard-won power of resilience and healing. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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