The Family Made of Dust

A Novel of Loss and Rebirth in the Australian Outback

Fiction - Social Issues
239 Pages
Reviewed on 02/19/2019
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Author Biography

Laine Cunningham’s books take readers on adventures around the world. The Family Made of Dust is set in the Australian Outback, while Reparation is a novel of the American Great Plains. Her women’s travel adventure memoir Woman Alone: A Six-Month Journey Through the Australian Outback appeals to fans of Wild and Eat Pray Love. Her work has received multiple awards including the Hackney and the James Jones Fellowship, and has been published by Reed, Birmingham Arts Journal, and the annual anthology by Writer’s Digest. One of her poems took second place in the 2017 Hackney Literary Award. She is the senior editor of Sunspot Literary Journal.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite

Gabriel's best friend, 'roo shooter Ian McCabe, is missing. Leaving his ordered life in Townsville, Queensland, aboriginal Gabriel Branch travels into the heart of the Australian outback in search of his mate. But running with the adventurous and caring Rob, trying to escape the black magic of the evil aboriginal shaman, Dana, he finds something unexpected. Gabe, who was removed from his family and raised as a white man, learns about the traditions and customs of his people, and discovers a deeply hidden part of himself.

In The Family Made of Dust: A Novel of Loss and Rebirth in the Australian Outback, Laine Cunningham takes the reader deep into the heart of outback Australia, putting the reader into the scenes with descriptions so vivid you can taste the red dust. Cunningham takes us into the hearts and minds of Gabriel and Rob, and the various members of Rob's family. She portrays the people and the lifestyle of the outback so graphically that you will close the book believing you were there. She paints the characters in such depth that you come to know them as well as you know your own family and best friends.

The Family Made of Dust by Laine Cunningham is a real treat for lovers of action and adventure. But Cunningham gives us much more than a gripping story. She gives us a peek into a fascinating world and culture, a taste of the pain caused by social crimes, and insight into the consequences of misunderstanding and misguided attempts at racial integration. The author gives us food for thought about the issues of identity and belonging in our world. She gives us self-awareness and delivers all of this in a story told with the richest and most amazing word magic. Some of the descriptive phrases paint pictures more vivid than any artist could create and are so original that they startle you, and embed themselves in your memory. Laine's writing is wonderfully poetic. I could read the book again just for the music the words make. Laine Cunningham delivers literary fiction at its best.