In a small town in the north of Australia, a mysterious cloud heralds both an ecological catastrophe and a gathering of the ancestors. A crazed visionary looks to donkeys to solve the global climate crisis and the economic dependency of the Aboriginal people. His wife, seeking solace from his madness, follows the dance of butterflies and scours the internet to find out how her Aboriginal/Chinese family could be repatriated to China. One of their sons, named Aboriginal Sovereignty, is determined to commit suicide. The other, Tommyhawk, wishes his brother dead so that he can pursue his dream of becoming white and powerful.
Linguistically commodious, panoramically plotted, Praiseworthy’s 700-plus-page scale would have given Henry James a heart attack: it is a baggy monster, and more monstrous than most. Its vision is dark, humour tar-black, narration irrepressible, language roiling and rococo ... Long after the lesser concerns of contemporary fiction have ceased to matter, the work of Alexis Wright will remain.