Books

The Oldest Song in the World

Booktopia

Summary

Kate, a lonely city woman and reluctant linguistics student from Sydney, is asked by her lecturer to travel to a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory to record a dying Aboriginal woman singing an ancient song. She accepts because she believes that she might be able to reunite with a childhood love and solve the mystery of her past.

The language spoken in this community is endangered and the song is believed to be from the Dreaming so there is evidence that there may be ancient grammar preserved within it ‘like an extinct butterfly preserved in amber’.

But once there, she's confronted by an Aboriginal culture vastly different to her own, and also by the forceful personality of the man who is supposed to help her find the singer. Very soon she is questioning everything she has ever felt about her own country and about her childhood.

Sensitively portrayed, lyrical, and full of insights about people's diverse sense of home, belonging and family, The Oldest Song in the World is a brave and controversial story about discovering the power of one's own voice and taking heed of the voice of others.

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Harvard citation

Korff, J 2018, The Oldest Song in the World, <https://www.creativespirits.info/resources/books/the-oldest-song-in-the-world>, retrieved 25 April 2019

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