Australian author Nikki Gemmell has created a modern classic in The Ripping Tree

By Frank O'Shea
April 9 2021 - 2:00pm
Best-selling Australian author Nikki Gemmell. Picture: Getty Images

The problem with Nikki Gemmell's latest book is that the reader gets so bogged down in the elegant prose that the story is in danger of being ignored. The first-person narrator, 16-year-old Thomasina, describes herself as being "too ungirled for dolls ... can't fold myself into daintiness." Raised in Dorset by her father, she "always owned the outside world, felt talled up in it". Now she finds herself as the only survivor of a shipwreck somewhere off Australia, saved by a young Aboriginal man and deposited by him at the door of the big house whose size and prosperity are in large measure the result of the dispossession and murder of his people.



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