Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent her adulthood avoiding two things: her hometown and prison. A tough, generous, reckless woman accused of having too much lip, Kerry uses anger to fight the avalanche of bullshit the world spews. But now her Pop is dying and she's an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley for one last visit. Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, across the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of latching on to people --not to mention her chaotic family and the threat of a proposal to develop a prison on Granny Ava's Island, the family's spiritual home. As the fight mounts to stop the development, old wounds open. Surrounded by the ghosts of their Elders and the memories of their ancestors, the Salters are driven by the deep need to make peace with their past while scrabbling to make sense of their present. Kerry just hopes they can come together in time to preserve Granny Ava's legacy and save their ancestral land.
Melissa Lucashenko’s novel Too Much Lip tells the story of stolen land and stolen children ... But this is not a story of suffering. This is a story of fighting back ... Lucashenko’s writing glides steadily forward even as it expands outward beyond Kerry’s point of view, moving smoothly from one character’s thoughts to another’s ... Lucashenko deftly voices these characters’ pain and rage, but her humor also crackles across the pages. The writing is consistently funny, but rather than serving to soften or balance, the humor instead lances and sharpens and reveals ... Vibrating with energy, both heartrending and hilarious, Too Much Lip offers a compelling multi-dimensional portrait of human strength in the face of human failure.
It is true that none of the characters in Too Much Lip ever pick up a book, but they are not without culture – yet it’s a culture we generally denigrate. Even the more positive reviewers focused too much on Too Much Lip’s gritty, dark undercurrents of dispossession and violence. I couldn’t understand how so many failed to acknowledge the crazy, lusty, pulsating-with-life joy that permeates every page ... Lucashenko’s is a rare and powerful voice ... Too Much Lip is ultimately a book about family, and love, and redemption, told by a strong and clear voice throbbing with unassailable humanity.
A daughter gets caught in her Aboriginal Australian family’s complicated legacy in Indigenous Australian writer Lucashenko’s darkly funny U.S. debut ... With strong voices and kinetic prose, Lucashenko’s engrossing narrative speaks to the ongoing traumas of indigenous life in Australia. This deserves to make a splash.