“I walk among my enemies. But I carry my friends with me.”
I’ve been reading a lot of books about Australia. They’ve mostly been history books with a smattering of linguistics and other interesting topics. However, I haven’t read any Australian fiction until now. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is interesting young adult fiction set in a dystopian future. This is the first book in The Tribe Series by Ambelin Kwaymullina. For another perspective, you can read a review and summary of the book on Kids’ Book Review.
But the main reason I found this book interesting was because of the author’s inspiration. Kwaymullina comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. In the Author’s Notes she writes “For me, the best storytellers I know are Aboriginal Elders.” This storytelling ability must be present in Kwaymullina as well because she weaves the story of Ashala Wolf, past, present and future together seamlessly. Aboriginal culture seems to heavily influence the characters and setting in the book too. The connection the Tribe has to the world, nature and the animals around them is beautifully written. Understanding the author’s inspiration made the book more special to me. Again in the Author’s Notes she writes, “Every landscape I describe in the Tribe series is inspired by one of the many biodiverse regions of Australia. So there really are towering tuarts; they grow in the Country of the Nyoongar people, in the southwest of Western Australia, and are one of the rarest ecosystems on earth.” The Nyoongar land is found in the Perth area where we hope to be moving and the tuart forest is indeed beautiful and unique.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a quick, interesting read for young adults or even adults. It was recommended by a friend and I love that fiction can be another way to peer into a country or a people. Don’t read this book if you’re looking for direct information about Australia or the people but do read this book if you want to enter another world and have your mind bent in wonderful, unexpected ways.