The Roving Party
The Roving Party
Soho Press, Hardcover, 9781616953119, 281pp.
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune
1829, Tasmania. A group of men convicts, a farmer, two free black traders, and Black Bill, an aboriginal man brought up from childhood as a white man are led by Jon Batman, a notorious historical figure, on a roving party. Their purpose is massacre. With promises of freedom, land grants and money, each is willing to risk his life for the prize. Passing over many miles of tortured country, the roving party searches for Aborigines, taking few prisoners and killing freely, Batman never abandoning the visceral intensity of his hunt. And all the while, Black Bill pursues his personal quarry, the much-feared warrior, Manalargena. A surprisingly beautiful evocation of horror and brutality, The Roving Partyis a meditation on the intricacies of human nature at its most raw.
"[An] exceedingly powerful debut. Wilson's compelling story carries us through forest and over plains, leaving a trail of dead men."
—Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune
"Wilson presents an emotionally harrowing, sometimes brutally violent exploration of cruelty and compassion in a desolate land. Wilson’s psychological insights are electric; the chilling ways in which each member of the roving party must grapple with his sense of humanity makes for particularly fascinating reading. Wilson’s novel will appeal to readers who appreciate intricate plotting, rich character studies, and poetic depictions of nature."
“A grim and bloody tone poem.... difficult and intriguing.”
"Australian first-novelist Wilson writes beautifully, equally expert in describing the magical land as he is with Aboriginal dialect."
"[A] grim and astonishing novel."
—Australian Book Review
"An extremely skilful book telling a horror story, and the young writer's maturity takes your breath away ... not for the fainthearted ... Wilson writes in spectacularly beautiful prose."
"The Roving Party is distinguished by Wilson's tactful and restrained account of a brutal episode in the history of the conflict between European newcomers and the original inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land. His restraint renders the horrors he depicts far more vivid and their ethical implications much more telling than other melodramatic, at times tub-thumping, approaches ... evocative and impressive."
—Sydney Morning Herald
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