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Jo Dutton

Forfatter af Out of place

3 Works 21 Members 1 Review

Om forfatteren

Jo Dutton is an author who won the Northern Territory Literary Award in the category of Short Story with the work, It's a Privilege to Live in Arrernte Country'. The prize carries a monetary award of $1000. (Bowker Author Biography)

Værker af Jo Dutton

Out of place (2006) 14 eksemplarer
On the edge of red (1998) 4 eksemplarer
From Alice with love (2013) 3 eksemplarer

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Almen Viden

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia



From Alice With Love, Jo Dutton’s third novel, is both the story of a woman making a fresh start in life and love and an examination of the political and social issues of indigenous community management in the Northern Territory.

Drawn back to Alice Springs when her mother falls ill, Alicia, who is in the midst of an amicable divorce and unemployed, allows herself to be reabsorbed into her childhood community, which includes the Indigenous mob who considers her family. She is persuaded by her best friend, Lekisha and her ‘nana’, Magdelene to take on the challenging position of the lone teacher at the newly approved school at the Promised Land Mission for its children. This is how Alicia, who is in her mid thirties and wanting to start a family, develops a complicated relationship with Patrick, also a teacher.

I think it would be fair to say however that Alicia’s journey is both inseparable from, and overshadowed by, Dutton’s portrait of Indigenous issues and community in the Top End. From Alice with Love is a thought provoking, though skewed, perspective into the complex issues that trouble our country and defy simple resolution. Against the background of several significant events that affected Aboriginals including the National Apology (Sorry Day), Centerlink’s introduction of ‘income management’ and The ‘Little Children Are Sacred’ report (which highlighted the prevalence of sexual abuse in some Indigenous communities), the author tries to bring into focus the humanity, dignity and dreams of the Indigenous peoples with the emphasis of the narrative clearly on their connection to family and the land and on challenging the negative cultural stereotypes endemic in society.

While the descriptions of the unique Territory environment are evocative, I did find that the first person narrative, which is light on dialogue, sometimes took on the qualities of a lecture. I found the pace a slow, it is 100 pages in before the school is even mentioned, and nearly at the 200 page mark before Alicia teaches her first class.

Despite my admiration for Jo Dutton’s intention to ‘write from love’ and my general agreement with her political position, unfortunately From Alice With Love didn’t resonate with me as I had I expected it to. Ultimately, I felt the author’s reach was too ambitious and the story was overwhelmed and undermined by the myriad of issues Dutton introduced. However I don’t want my opinion to discourage anyone from reading From Alice With Love as I believe this book has the potential to both inform and enlighten readers.
… (mere)
shelleyraec | Jul 6, 2013 |


½ 2.5