The Yield by Tara June Winch [7/10]

The Yield” won this year’s Miles Franklin Award and it deserves this and all its other accolades. Tara June Winch is a talented stylist but it is the narrative daring of The Yield that stands out during reading. Three strands are brought to bear: a young indigenous woman returns to the New South Wales property of her childhood, her traditional-yet-modern community; her recently deceased grandfather’s compilation of a Wiradjuri lexicon, a celebration of a language that also reveals secrets; and the area’s founding missionary’s memoirs at the turn of the 20th Century. All in different styles, all fascinating in their own ways. It is of course modern August Gondiwindi’s story that is front of stage, involving the past but also a battle against a mining company, and it is this tale that drew me in most. The other two strands were impressive and informative but also, perhaps, a little distancing. Overall, I commend The Yield, a heavy yet truth-telling novel with resonance in the times of 2020.

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