Diamond Dove by Adrian Hyland

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión española desplazarse por la pantalla hacia abajo

First published by Text Publishing, 2006. My copy Quercus paperback edition, 2008. 356 pages. ISBN: 978-1-84724-377-5.

Diamond Dove (aka Moonlight Downs) is Adrian Hyland’s debut novel. The action, set in the Australia outback, is narrated by Emily Tempest. When the book opens she has just return to Moonlight Downs, the Aboriginal camp of her childhood:

“I parked my little ute on the outskirts of the cap and sat there, looking at the scatter of corrugated iron hovels.

There’s enough people here, I thought. Boys brawling over a flaccid football, girls bouncing a basketball in a cloud of dust, young men working on a car, pensioners chewing on the cud. A bare-arsed tacker raced past pushing a pram wheel with a length of wire.

Fifty, maybe sixty people all up. The Moonlights Downs community.”

She’s been away for twelve years now:

“Adelaide, Melbourne, boarding school, university. I’d started three degrees and finished none of them, had a dozen different jobs, most of them in grungy pubs and bars. Done a lot of travel. Somehow it seemed always gravitating towards the drier parts of the world.”

And later on:

“I headed off overseas. Deckhanded on a yacht across North Africa. Ran a bar in Turkey. Travelled through Rajasthan – on a bloody camel, half the time. Spent six months wandering along the silk Road itself. I was running so hard it never occurred to me that I was lost”.

Emily grew up on Moonlight Downs. Her mother, Alice Limmen, was a Wantiya woman. Of her she remembers almost nothing except a thin sweet face, a Wantiya lullaby and the enveloping breasts upon which she used to muzzle herself to sleep. Her father, Jack Tempets, was a wandering whitefeller who courted, married and buried her in the space of five years.

Within hours of her arrival the tribe’s elder, and Alice’s friend and mentor, is brutally murdered and mutilated. Blakie Japanangka, a man of incredible strength and very little grip on sanity, is the only suspect..until Emily starts asking questions.

I hope you’ll excuse my insolence for copying and paste here what Rob Kitchin wrote about this “wonderful novel. Engagingly written, with good prose, a well crafted, multi-textured plot, and perfectly paced, Hyland transports the reader into the natural and social environment of the Australian outback, the worlds of aborigines and white settlers, and their interface. …………. The characterization is excellent, with Emily Tempest particularly well drawn, with just the right amount of back story that the reader understands the context but is always kept in the present. ….….…. Diamond Dove cleverly explores race relations and social and political tensions in contemporary Australia ….”. I’m not able to put it better.

Diamond Dove has been reviewed by Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, Glenn at International Noir Fiction, Rob at The View from the Blue House, Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, Maxine at Petrona, Peter at Detectives Beyond Borders,

See also An interview with Adrian Hyland

I’m counting this book for the 2011 Global Reading Challenge and for the 2011 Aussie Author Challenge.

See my review of Gunshot Road by Adrian Hyland (1) and Gunshot Road by Adrian Hyland (2) and my post for the Crime Fiction Alphabet 2011: H is for Hyland, Adrian.

Diamond Dove de Adrian Hyland

Diamond Dove (también conocida como Moonlight Downs) es la primera novela de Adrian Hyland. La acción, ambientada en el interior de Australia, está narrada por Emily Tempest. El libro comienza cuando Emily acaba de regresar a Moonlight Downs, el campamento aborigen de su infancia.

Emily ha estado fuera doce años:

“Adelaida, Melbourne, el colegio, la universidad. Empecé tres carreras y no terminé ninguna, tuve una docena de trabajos diferentes, la mayoría de ellos en pubs y bares conchambrosos. Hice un montón de viajes. De alguna manera parecía gravitar siempre hacia las partes más secas del mundo. “

Emily se crió en Moonlight Down. Su madre, Alicia Limmen, era una mujer Wantiya. De ella no se acuerda de casi nada, excepto un rostro delgado y dulce, una nana Wantiya y unos pechos que la envolvían silenciosamente para que se durmiera. Su padre, Jack Tempets, era un hombre blanco errante que en el espacio de cinco años, la cortejó, se casó con ella y la enterró.

Al poco timepo de su llegada el anciano de la tribu, amigo y mentor de Emily, es brutalmente asesinado y mutilado. Blakie Japanangka, un hombre de una fuerza increíble y con pocas luces, es el único sospechoso ….. hasta que Emily comienza a hacer preguntas.

Espero que disculpen mi atrevimiento por copiar y pegar aquí lo que Rob Kitchin ha escrito sobre esta maravillosa novela. “Atractivamente escrita, con una buena prosa, una trama bien construida con varias texturas y con un ritmo perfecto, Hyland nos transporta al entorno natural y social del interior de Australia, a los mundos de los aborígenes y de los colonos blancos, y a su interrelación. … … … …. La caracterización es excelente, con una Emily Tempest particularmente bien dibujada, con la cantidad justa de trasfondo histórico para que el lector entienda el contexto, pero siempre manteniéndose en el presente. …. …. …. Diamond Dove explora con habilidad las relaciones raciales y las tensiones sociales y políticas en la Australia de hoy …..”. Yo no soy capaz de decirlo mejor.

Lamentablemente no está traducida al castellano hasta este momento. Las traducciones libres son mías.

Crime Fiction Alphabet 2011: H is for Hyland, Adrian

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión española desplazarse por la pantalla hacia abajo

On our journey through the Crime Fiction Alphabet hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise we stop this week at letter “H”. And my “H” goes to……

Hyland, Adrian (1955) spent many years in the Northern Territory, living and working among Indigenous people. He now lives in St Andrews, Victoria, and teaches at LaTrobe University. His first book, Moonlight Downs –originally published in Australia under the title Diamond Dove, won the 2007 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and is the first crime novel to feature an Indigenous protagonist since Arthur Upfield’s Boney series. Gunshot Road is his second novel.

Diamond Dove publisher’s blurb: Something has drawn Emily Tempest back to Central Australia—to Moonlight Downs, the community she left half a lifetime ago. Not much has changed; the barefoot kids are bush mechanics now, but Emily still doesn’t know if she belongs in the Aboriginal world or the white.

And trouble still seems to follow her. Within hours of her arrival an old friend lies brutally murdered and mutilated, an old enemy the only suspect. Until Emily starts asking questions.

I’ve recently ordered a copy of Diamond Dove and I do expect to receive it soon. Stay tuned.

Gunshot Road publisher’s blurb: Emily Tempest is small, black, as snaky as a taipan’s tooth and is the woman least likely ever to embark on a career in policing. But her old mate Superintendent Tom MacGillivray has persuaded her to sign on as the Aboriginal Community Police Officer for the outback (not to mention throwback) township of Bluebush.

Then Tom is hospitalised and Emily finds herself working for a new bloke instead: an east-coast ring-in, a martinet called Cockburn. Being allergic both to authority and to keeping her big mouth shut, Emily is immediately at odds with the new boss. And the death at the Green Swamp Well Roadhouse only complicates things. Cockburn thinks it’s a simple case of two old drunks and a hammer. Emily’s not convinced.

Adrian Hyland takes us to the outback—a place we think we know, and have mostly never seen. Introducing us to the people who belong there—a different people, as wise, foolish and fallible as the rest of us. And spinning for us a veil of wit and lyrical beauty through which we can see them truly.

You can read my review of Gunshot Road in two instalments HERE and HERE.

Alfabeto del Crimen 2011: H por Hyland, Adrian

En nuestro recorrido por el Alfabeto del Crimen nos detenemos esta semana en la letra “H”. Y mi “H” es para……..

Hyland, Adrian (1955) pasó muchos años en el Territorio del Norte, viviendo y trabajando entre aborígenes. Actualmente vive en St Andrews, Victoria, y enseña en la Universidad de LaTrobe. Su primer libro, Moonlight Downs -publicado originalmente en Australia con el título de Diamond Dove, ganó el Premio Ned Kelly a la Mejor Primera Novela en 2007 y es la primera novela negra que tiene un protagonista aborígen después de la serie Boney de Arthur Upfield. Gunshot Road es su segunda novela.

Del editor de Diamond Dove: Algo ha hecho que Emily Tempest regresara a Australia Central –a Moonlight Downs, la comunidad que dejó hace media vida. No ha cambiado mucho; los niños descalzos, trabajan ahora como mecánicos en el campo, Emily no sabe todavía si pertenece al mundo aborigen o al de los blancos.

Y parece que los problemas le persiguen. A las pocas horas de su llegada un viajo amigo aparece brutalmente asesinado y mutilado, un viejo enemigo el único sospechoso. Hasta que Emily comienza a hacer preguntas.

Acabo de compra Diamond Dove por Internet, espero recibirlo pronto, estén atentos.

Del editor de Gunshot Road: Emily Tempest es pequeña, negra, tan retorzida como el diente de una serpiente, la última mujer que ingresaría en la policía. Pero su viejo amigo el superintendente Tom MacGillivray le ha convencido de que trabaje como oficial de policía para la comunidad aborigen en las zonas despobladas del interior del municipio de Bluebush.

Pero cuando Tom tiene que ser hospitalizado, Emily se encuentra trabajando para un nuevo tipo, un recién llegado de la costa este, un tal Cockburn que se rige estrictamente por las ordenanzas. Alérgia tanto a la autoridad como a mantener la boca cerrada, Emily choca de inmediato con su nuevo jefe. Y la muerte en Green Swamp Well Roadhouse sólo sirve para complicar las cosas. Cockburn considera que únicamente se trata de un simple caso entre dos viejos borrachos y un martillo. Pero Emily no lo ve así.

Adrian Hyland nos introduce en las zonas despobladas del interior, en un lugar que creemos conocer, pero que no hemos visto nunca. Nos presenta a las personas que son de allí –personas diferentes, tan sabias, necias e imperfectas como el resto de nosotros. Y nos desvela una historia de ingenio y de poética belleza a través de la cual podemos verlos como en realidad son.

Lamentablemente los libros de Adrian Hyland no están disponibles en español (mis disculpas por mi traducción libre, de los textos citados).

Gunshot Road by Adrian Hyland (2)

Gunshot Road is the second novel by Adrian Hyland featuring Emily Tempest. It is set in the Australian outback. The book opens when Emily (a half-aboriginal, half-white) returns to her roots. Tom McGillivray, superintendent of the Bluebush Police, has offered her a job; not as a real cop just an ACPO (Aboriginal Community Police Officer) which means limited powers. ‘I could arrest people but I couldn’t shoot them’. The clincher in the deal is a four-wheel-drive, Government owned, fuelled and maintained. On her first day on the job, McGillivray is in the hospital with several broken bones. His replacement, Sergeant Bruce Cockburn, sees Emily’s role as making tea and provide liaison between ‘us’ and the Aborigines. But soon they have to face a murder case. At first sight it all seems pretty straightforward but Emily decides to investigate by her own. Something’s out of place. Something’s wrong. She knows it is. She can feel it.

It is worth noting several aspects of this book. Among the most notable ones the fascinating characters that the reader will encounter, most notably Emily Tempest. Besides the story is beautifully told, it flows naturally and it has a great sense of place. Gunshot Road is one of these books that hook you from the very beginning. I can’t find an adequate adjective for this novel, they all seem insufficient to me. It is an intelligent, witty and fascinating story, sometimes tragic but seasoned with doses of humour; a delicious reading capable to convey a great deal of sensations and feelings.

Adrian Hyland won Australia’s 2007 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Novel for Moonlight Downs, published in Australia as Diamond Dove, which was also a Book Sense Notable book. He spent many years in the Northern Territory living and working among the indigenous people. He now teaches at La Trobe University and lives in Melbourne. Gunshot Road is his second novel.

This is my third book covering Australasia at Dorte’s 2010 Global Reading Challenge.

Gunshot Road has been reviewed by Glenn at International Noir Fiction, Maxine at Petrona, Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, Rob at The View from the Blue House, among others. See also an Adrian Hyland’s Interview at Scene of the Crime.


Adrian Hyland

Gunshot Road

Quercus, 2010

Number of pages: 374

ISBN: 978-1-84916-215-9

Gunshot Road by Adrian Hyland (1)

I’ve finished reading Gunshot Road and I was left breathless. Whoa !!! Still under the impression, I’m wordless. As an appetizer I found this page in the Internet, The Story of my Book: Adrian Hyland on Gunshot Road by Adrian Hyland, were you can find this brief excerpt that I would like to share with you.

‘Emily Tempest, having just taken on a job as an Aboriginal Community Police Officer, is investigating a death at a roadhouse. Her sergeant sends her in to get some food.

I stepped out, once more, into the blasting heat. Jesus, what a day: I felt like a pig on a spit. If a heat-seeking missile were to arrive on the scene it wouldn’t have known where to start.

I walked around the side of the pub, past the toilets, the delightful melody of 150-proof piss crashing into a urinal.

I stepped in the front door. Polished wood, whirling fans. Shafts of green-gold light streamed among bottles and mirrors.

The bloke behind the bar—Sandy, I assumed—wasn’t quite as polished: still youngish, but with an air of general disintegration. He had a DIY haircut and the fiery complexion of your everyday outback alcoholic.

He spotted me, and his eyes flicked at the dog-box window by the bar. A lot of these places still kept one for the blacks. His mouth started to move.

‘Don’t even think about it,’ I warned him.

He suspended his instincts for long enough to look at me properly, changed tack.

‘What would you like?’

‘Some respect. And while you’re working on that, five steaks. I’m with the police’

He went to the kitchen window and said something to a steamy man in a once- white singlet whose appearance brought to mind my father’s advice regarding roadhouse cuisine: always check for body parts.’

Tomorrow more, stay tune.

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