A paean to belonging, idealism and human evolution.
[Keneally] steps forth into a wild landscape of evolution, myth and primal emotion . . . a hymn to idealism, and to human development . . . As a portrait of passion, belonging, anger and forgiveness in marriage, in whatever stage of evolution, this book is deeply affecting.
[T]he parallels between the two [men] are engaging . . . [an] elegiac novel . . . with its joyful descriptions of Shade's family, his songs, his gods and the "flame of praise" he feels under the stars, and of the huge creatures - the razor-toothed great lizard, the giant kangaroo - that he and his clan hunt amongst the saltbush.
[An] impressive sketch of ghostly affinities between a man who makes images at once artistic and real out of the life he records and shapes, and another who conjures and kills and wills himself on the tightrope of justice and mercy in a time that Keneally is very adept at animating . . . It leaps to Africa, it resounds with the shadow-world of ancient Australia, it can evoke a background of the Inuit, of any damn thing pertinent to the purposes of a master craftsman who has no intention of taking anything lying down.
Bristles with what makes life worth living . . . a book of wonder and regular brilliance . . . Keneally's art is to make the profound accessible. The important is rendered seamlessly . . . In a book that teems with journeys, both spiritual and physical, he finds something true, brave and powerful to say about mankind's fate.
Like The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, it uncovers a rich hidden seam in Australian history; like Schindler's Ark, it addresses appalling violence with impressive tact . . . passionate and heartfelt
Electric with life, passion and appetite . . . intensely personal, hugely inventive and often moving novel.
Learned's voice is a wonderful creation: modern, compassionate and filled with moral authority . . . Both perspectives will fascinate Keneally's dedicated followers who have come to expect daring narratives dealing with themes of family, morality and moral responsibility.