Book Club This Month

Our recomended best books for Book Clubs

Author: Molly Schmidt

Category: Fiction & related items

ISBN: 9781760992620

RRP: 32.99

Synopsis

Introducing an exciting new voice in Australian fiction, Molly Schmidt, winner of the 2022 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award. Salt River Road is a compelling coming-of-age novel about grief and healing set in a small town in the 1970s.

In the aftermath of their mother’s death, the Tetley siblings’ lives are falling apart. Left to fend for themselves as their family farm goes to ruins, Rose sets out to escape the grief and mess of home. When she meets Noongar Elders Patsy and Herbert, she finds herself drawn into a home where she has the chance to discover the strength of community, and to heal a wound her family has carried for a generation. Salt River Road is a poignant exploration of healing and resilience, small-town racism and the power of human connection.

‘This story retains an innocence and a sense of decency even as it glides through pain, love and complex politics. It’s refreshing, and open, and kind of tricky.’ Kim Scott
‘An amazing new talent.’ Brett D’Arcy

Molly Schmidt is a writer and journalist from the coastal town of Albany, Western Australia. Molly is passionate about producing stories that are inclusive of all members of her community. Written as part of her PhD under Miles Franklin Award winner Kim Scott, and novelist Brett D’Arcy, Molly collaborated with Noongar Elders to produce a novel that actively pursues reconciliation. Molly works as a radio producer and journalist for the ABC, where her passion for storytelling is put to good use.

Salt River Road by Molly Schmidt

 

READ OUR REVIEW

When Elana finally loses her battle with cancer, the Tetley family implodes. She leaves behind a hole in their lives that can never be filled. The father, like an automaton that has lost its power, winds down, unable to function at all just when his children need him the most. The family sheep farm grinds to a halt, and if something is not done then the family will lose everything. All the children are hit hard, but we experience the loss mainly through the eyes of Rose and Frank.

Rose and Frank, teenagers a year apart in age, have always been as close as twins. However, their mother’s death rips them apart, with Frank withdrawing, not only from Rose, but from everybody.

With seemingly nobody to help them the children come under the care of two Noongar Elders who have a mysterious connection to the father. It is obvious he knows them and that they care about the family, yet there is also a divide, a feeling of bad blood between them.

Interspersed between the chapters there are some beautiful passages of poetry that capture the grief and emotions of the children. I read in an interview that Schmidt was going to leave these passages out. I am so glad she didn’t, they are an integral part, and strength of the novel.

Salt River Road is a novel about two young teenagers trying to recover and deal with the grief of losing a mother, but it is also a novel about reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing from previous generations’ wounds.

Schmidt must be commended for writing a story that honours and includes the culture of the Noongar people.

A wonderful debut that thoroughly deserved the Hungerford Award.

Reviewed by Neale Lucas

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Molly Schmidt is a writer and journalist from the coastal town of Albany, Western Australia. An only child, she grew up roaming paddocks and climbing paperbark trees on Menang Noongar country. Storytelling has been part of Molly’s world since she could speak.

When she was 10 years old, her father lost his battle with terminal cancer. Molly began writing to process this loss, and through written word has found healing, growth and her life path. Throughout both her journalism career and novel writing practice, Molly is passionate about producing stories that are inclusive of all members of her community.

While writing Salt River Road, she collaborated with Noongar Elders from Albany, with the goal of producing a novel that actively pursues reconciliation between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal peoples. Molly completed a thesis on the topic at Curtin University in 2021, supervised by Professor Kim Scott and Dr Brett D’Arcy, for which she received First Class Honours. This novel, Salt River Road, is the recipient of the 2022 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award. By day,

Molly works as a radio producer and journalist for the ABC, where her passion for storytelling is put to good use. Drawn to the coast, Molly now lives in Fremantle where she enjoys free time wandering the beach and local coffee shops with her dog, Rupi.

Reader Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all reviews

Latest Books For Great Conversation

Fiction

Fiction

Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction

The Latest List