A superior memoir by an accomplished writer at the height of her powers
For 40,000 years the Central NSW area of Wellington was Aboriginal - Wiradjuri - land. Following the arrival of white men, it became a penal settlement, mission station, gold-mining town and farming centre with a history of white comfort and black marginalisation. In the late 20th century, it was also the subject of the first post-Mabo Native Title claim, bringing new hope - and new controversy - to the area and its people.
Wiradjuri land is also where author Patti Miller was born and, mid-life, it begins to exert a compelling emotional pull, demanding her return. Post-children, having lived a dream life in Paris, it is hard for her to understand, or ignore, and so she is drawn into the story at the heart of Australian identity - who are we in relation to our beloved but stolen country?
Wellington and the Wiradjuri people are the main characters - and in revealing their complex narratives, Patti uncovers her own. Are her connections to this place through her convict forefathers, or through another, secret history? She sets out on a journey of exploration and takes us with her. Black and white politics, the processes of colonisation, family mythologies, generational conflict and the power of place are evoked as Patti weaves a story that is very personal and, at the same time, a universal story of country and belonging.
The Mind of a Thief is about identity, history, place and belonging and, perhaps most of all, about how we create ourselves through our stories.
About the Author
Patti Miller was raised on a farm in central western NSW and has worked teaching writing for over twenty years. Her many books include Writing Your Life (Allen & Unwin, 1994, 2001), The Last One Who Remembers (Allen & Unwin, 1997), Child (Allen & Unwin, 1998), Whatever the Gods Do (Random House, 2003) and The Memoir Book (Allen & Unwin, 2007). In 2012 she will teach at the innovative Faber Academy in Sydney.
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Comments about The Mind of a Thief:
The content of the book is fantastic in use of education, essays and exams. As it is a depressing book with no happiness I would recommend it to those interested in that content as well as a curriculum to students.
"A seamless narrative. [Miller's] powers of observation give her stories a colourful cohesion. She has produced a remarkably fluid, virtuoso piece of writing." --"Saturday Age"
|Wiradjuri Land||p. 7|
|Identity Terror||p. 13|
|Heading Home - and Leaving||p. 32|
|Keeping Out of Trouble||p. 40|
|Memory and Place||p. 47|
|The Common and Nanima Reserve||p. 54|
|In Search of an Inland Sea||p. 59|
|Who Will Talk to Me?||p. 69|
|The Mind of a Thief||p. 72|
|The Missionaries' Diaries||p. 87|
|More Inclined to Read than Work||p. 104|
|Living at Nanima Reserve||p. 110|
|Thieving Ancestors||p. 122|
|Whose Native Title?||p. 129|
|A Wild Irishman||p. 139|
|Native Title Fight||p. 151|
|Native Title Histories||p. 158|
|Patrick Reidy and the Wiradjuri||p. 164|
|The Town Historian||p. 172|
|Elders Usurped||p. 183|
|The Niece of Jimmy Governor||p. 187|
|Trying to Talk to Rose||p. 206|
|Searching for the Bora||p. 210|
|Not Taking Nonsense||p. 216|
|A Wiradjuri Man||p. 227|
|Who Belongs?||p. 241|
|Australia Day||p. 245|
|Sacred Sites||p. 256|
|What Happens in Wellington||p. 264|
|Country Rose||p. 270|
|Native Title||p. 287|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 26th April 2012
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 22.7 x 15.3 x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.43
Edition Number: 1