Publisher: Fremantle Press
The reissuing by Fremantle Press of Stephen Kinnane’s award winning Shadow Lines is indeed a cause for celebration. Both a deeply researched archival investigation into the assimilationist policies of the Western Australian government post the 1905 Act, and a biography of Kinnane’s maternal grandparents, Mirriwoong woman Jessie Argyle and Englishman Edward Smith, the narrative breaks through the bureaucratic language associated with the actions of Protector of Aborigines A.O. Neville, in particular, to explore the rich and vivid human story underneath. By turns tragic, poignant, gripping and disturbing, Shadow Lines is at its heart a beautifully told love story, detailing by way of interview and familial memory the trials of Kinnane’s grandmother to escape the restrictions aimed at thwarting her attempts to be free, and of Kinnane’s grandfather, who patiently worked to be with the woman he loved. Richly characterised and lyrically drawn, Shadow Lines is one of the great works of Western Australian literature.