WINNER • MILES FRANKLIN LITERARY AWARD 2020 • PRIME MINISTER'S LITERARY AWARDS 2020
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- With a braiding of three narratives, Winch's story encircles the indigenous experience across differing time periods, and honours a First Nations language. The current voice is that of August Gondiwindi, a Wiradjuri woman returning home from abroad to face the family and town she left behind, amidst domestic and social pressures. Then there is the voice of the well-read grandfather Albert, whose personal project to record his people's tongue also sheds light on the mystery of the childhood disappearance of August's sister. The third voice is from earlier colonial times via a Lutheran missionary. Overall, the story is of many sadnesses held out by determination to survive and to thrive - a refusal to yield. Craig Kirchner
The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri, yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things - baayanha.
Knowing he will soon die, Albert 'Poppy' Gondiwindi puts pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. He is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.
August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for 10 years when she learns of her grandfather's death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends, she endeavours to save their land - a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.
Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.