William is eight-years-old when his father is killed in a farming accident and he is invited, along with his psychologically fragile mother, to live with his great-uncle John McIvor at the decaying homestead of Kuran House. The property is the original station of the Darling Downs and the imminent Native Title Act is of great concern to the local landowners. McIvor, a hard and driven man, is organising a rally against the Act, whilst at the same time testing William as a potential heir of Kuran House. His mother is desperate for the security and wealth she has never had, and the pressures on Will from his mother and uncle are unrelenting. As the past and present of Kuran Station unravel and merge, the price of that inheritance may prove to be the downfall of them all.
"The White Earth is an ambitious and multilayered novel that ranges across the 150-year history of white settlement on the Darling Downs. It touches on such recent political issues as the passage of native title legislation, the 'history wars' and the growing alienation and resentment of rural white Australia - sentiments that, as we now know, provided a natural constituency for One Nation. But The White Earth also has all the trappings of a classic supernatural tale, and McGahan seamlessly blends the factual elements with the preternatural dimensions - the ghosts of black and white that haunt the landscape." (Aviva Tuffield, The Age)
“The saga of the McIvors is nothing less than a grim and supremely entertaining take on colonialism in Australia and the tortured, stained hearts of all its New World cousins. A-.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“McGahan scrutinizes his characters without puppetry, and his prose moves with grace, smoothness and a gift for setting.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
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a great novel of australian rural life
a wonderful reading,no doubt made the great story very very real
the land title period of our history
- francis patrick walsh