Your Preview Verdict: Born Into This by Adam Thompson

Your Preview Verdict: Born Into This by Adam Thompson

The stories in Born Into This throw light on a world of unique cultural practice and perspective, from Indigenous rangers trying to instil some pride in wayward urban teens on the harsh islands off the coast of Tasmania to those scraping by on the margins of white society railroaded into complex and compromised decisions. To this mix, Adam Thompson manages to bring humour, pathos and occasionally a sly twist as his characters confront racism, untimely funerals, classroom politics and, overhanging all like a discomforting, burgeoning awareness for both white and black Australia, the inexorable damage and disappearance of the remnant natural world.

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

Coming from the writer’s home town I loved hearing stories about landmarks that I know so well. The writer has a great ability to entice you into the stories and you can really visualise being there in the setting. I found it really quite interesting and thought-provoking. Having read the original The Last Aboriginal – Truganinni when I was a kid, this book makes me more aware of the Aboriginal ancestry that is all over Tasmania which I was never really aware of while I lived there. Jodi, QLD, 5 Stars

Loved the format of several short stories depicting the plight and struggles of the Aboriginal people both in the past and sadly still persisting today! Topics such as heritage, welfare, rights and alcoholism are intrinsically woven into the well-versed chapter-long stories. Melanie, VIC, 5 Stars

This collection of short stories is the first full-length book by Tasmanian Indigenous writer Adam Thompson, and it’s one I cannot recommend highly enough. Since winning an award in the 2016 Tamar Valley Writers Festival short story competition, this truly gifted writer has come a long way. I gobbled up these diverse and original stories. It was impossible to do otherwise, so compulsive were they, even if one or two were an undeniably uncomfortable read for those who do not claim Aboriginal heritage. Mostly set in and around Adam’s hometown of Launceston, the stories describe the reality of living as an Indigenous person in their own country, where they are still too often treated as invisible, with disdain, or dismissed as worthless and beyond hope. These aspects are all reflected in stories with a cast of well-drawn, feisty characters who refuse to be ignored. All are people who simmer with barely suppressed emotions as they find ways to navigate, challenge, adapt or accept the fate they were ‘born into’. Although far from a comfortable read, the stories are nonetheless compelling, Adam Thompson is a seriously talented writer and definitely one to watch. Anne, TAS, 5 Stars

Adam Thompson has written a really great and powerful collection of short stories dealing with politics and racism that Aboriginals deal with daily in their lives. A couple of stories are hard to read and made me uncomfortable, and it should, as a person who resides in this country, I haven’t read much of, about or by Aboriginals. It has been a subject/area that I am intimidated by, but this was a great way to be introduced into the culture and a gateway into finding out more and also to pause and reflect on the stories. Amanda, VIC, 5 Stars

Wow! I loved this book. Reading this novel had me experiencing the full spectrum of emotions but left me delighted and sad that it ended. Amazing work!! Dianne, SA, 5 Stars

Adam Thompson’s collection of sixteen short stories is a stunning read. The beautiful Tasmanian landscape and skillfully drawn characters captured my attention instantly. This is a book to read in one sitting! The stories centre around First Nations characters facing the very real and ongoing issues of racism, oppression, identity and destruction of Country. The stories and characters contain a powerful message but they are also entertaining, witty and thought provoking. An amazing debut collection by Adam Thompson. Kerrie, NSW, 5 Stars

Adam Thompson’s collection of fictional Australian Aboriginal short stories are eye-opening, thought-provoking and very cleverly written, giving you an insight into what it is like to live as an Aboriginal in a white world. The novel is written through the eyes of unique characters. The powerful stories engage the reader in short bursts giving you a view into the world of an Aboriginal person living on the land of the white person. Thompson’s stories shock you in an interesting way while pulling at the heartstrings, they make you laugh, cry and feel sad all at the same time. His stories are confronting, compassionate, heartbreaking and funny in all the right ways. Prepare to be wowed story after story. Graham, VIC, 5 Stars

Each short story in this collection is a perfectly crafted gem. The writing is so vivid and beautiful, I was completely absorbed and could easily see, feel, hear, and even smell what the author was describing. The stories were incredibly powerful, each effectively highlighting important issues such as land rights and environmental change; I found myself reflecting on the themes long after I finished reading the book. Adam Thompson’s Born Into This is one of the best collections of short stories I have ever read, effectively balancing impactful messages and excellent storytelling. Amanda, QLD, 5 Stars

It’s been a while since I read a collection this quickly – less than 24 hours. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed short stories as well, especially when they are this well-crafted. A good short story feels wrapped up by the end but also leaves you wanting more – just like these. Adam Thompson’s debut is full of compelling fictional short stories. The characters are of a varying cast, all with different stories to tell and experiences to share. The stories are also based in Thompson’s home state of Tasmania, which I really enjoyed. I can only think of a small handful of books I’ve read based in Tasmania. The stories cover a range of Aboriginal people and give snapshots of their lives, with themes of identity and belonging, life and loss, all handled with care. Some of the stories are funny, some have a dark edge, some will make you uncomfortable, all are honest and raw. I was drawn further and further into a world I know embarrassingly little about. I couldn’t put it down and I am in awe of how a writer can create such a picture for the reader in such a short number of pages. Brit, VIC, 4 Stars

Thoroughly enjoyed reading these refreshing, fascinating short stories – sometimes dark, sometimes sad, and sometimes humourous – always interesting. I love the style of writing – so easy to picture the characters, landscapes, and seascapes. I feel I have had an exceedingly small introduction to the culture and history of the Palawa. These stories are eye-opening and thought provoking. A great read. Sandra, ACT, 4 Stars

Wow, these short stories certainly delivered everything that was promised on the blurb and then some! I’ve never been to Tasmania, nor am I of Aboriginal descent, but the stories allowed me to imagine myself in the place of the characters, experiencing everything they did. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Maree, QLD, 4 Stars

Born Into This, by talented Aboriginal (pakana) author Adam Thompson is a power-punch of a read. This eclectic collection of sixteen short stories might be economical in length, but Thompson makes each and every one dance across the page with depth, character and authenticity. The story themes are varied, tackling universally delicate issues such as racism, personal identity, the heartbreaking destruction of cultural heritage and climate change in a non-sanctimonious way. Reading this book is not always easy — every story evokes strong emotions and I found myself feeling angry, laughing, saddened and humbled — It’s not a book that flirts with the truth, but rather one that tells it like it is. The result is a collection of richly rewarding stories that are darkly humorous, thought-provoking and sometimes challenging to read. Thompson’s writing is witty and straight-shooting, yet delivered with a tender turn of phrase that captures the unique spirit of his characters to perfection. The Tasmanian landscape blossoms into life through his poetic descriptions, making the experience of reading each story as visually captivating as it is evocative. Born Into This delivers big on entertainment, awakens your spirit and leaves a lasting imprint on your heart. Linda, QLD, 4 Stars

This was a fabulous and eye-opening collection of short stories. I flew through them, completely absorbed and amazed at the skilful way that Adam Thompson was able to create such unique voices for each story and convey so much in only a few pages. A must-read for anyone wanting to understand Aboriginal people and culture, especially from a Tasmanian viewpoint. Claire Louisa, WA, 4 Stars

Excellent read. Took me out of my comfort zone as it was not something I would naturally be drawn to. Well written and thought-provoking. I look forward to exploring this author some more. Sam, NSW, 4 Stars

Thompson has produced a cleverly written book, that has the reader wanting more (well this reader anyway). I enjoyed each short story and could relate to a couple of events that were in the stories. I look forward to reading more of his books. Annette, NSW, 3 Stars

Acknowledgment of Cultural Fund support

Better Reading acknowledges the support provided by Copyright Agency for us to support Born Into This.

Reviews

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        Publisher details

        Born Into This
        Author
        Adam Thompson
        Publisher
        University of Queensland Press
        Genre
        Fiction
        Released
        02 February, 2021

        Synopsis

        The stories in Born Into This throw light on a world of unique cultural practice and perspective, from Indigenous rangers trying to instil some pride in wayward urban teens on the harsh islands off the coast of Tasmania to those scraping by on the margins of white society railroaded into complex and compromised decisions. To this mix, Adam Thompson manages to bring humour, pathos and occasionally a sly twist as his characters confront racism, untimely funerals, classroom politics and, overhanging all like a discomforting, burgeoning awareness for both white and black Australia, the inexorable damage and disappearance of the remnant natural world
        Adam Thompson
        About the author

        Adam Thompson

        Adam Thompson is an emerging Aboriginal (pakana) writer from Tasmania, who writes contemporary short fiction. In 2016–17, Adam received writing awards through the Tamar Valley Writers Festival and the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival. Adam has been awarded a First Nations Fellowship at Varuna – The Writers House, several Arts Tasmania grants, and was one of ten recipients of The Next Chapter initiative through the Wheeler Centre.

        Books by Adam Thompson

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