Lucky-Child: The Secret
Publisher: TellWell Publications
Lucky-Child: The Secret is both a gritty, no-punches-pulled account of contemporary Indigenous life in the northwest town of Broome, and a fascinating tale of adventure and spiritual empowerment of a young Indigenous woman – a reluctant heroine – under the guidance of her great-grandmother, or Jalbri, in their Country to the north. Through language and imagery sometimes delicate, sometimes brutal, Gates gives readers insight into traditional Indigenous beliefs and practices while unfurling a fantasy of twists, turns, tragedies and triumphs. Depictions of majestic landscape and the means by which a band of women not only survive but thrive are riveting. Words and phrases of Indigenous language – primarily Wajarri and Mangala – scattered freely through the text are easily absorbed and give insight into the complexities and subtleties of these threatened languages. Gates has an established reputation as an artist but this is her first novel. Her powerful artwork graces the cover and chapter headings.