28 July 2017, Sydney Review of Books
Excerpt: "It is a tiny consolation that Australia may be the best place for writing about uncertainty and loss. Our colonial history means that our literature is already less comfortable than its northern hemisphere counterparts and more tuned to damage and survival. This is especially the case in writing about nature, which has never established itself as a stable commercial genre here but tends instead to emerge in feral form out of other genres, such as history and memoir. It almost always engages with the ongoing Indigenous knowledge of country. Books such as Bruce Pascoe’s galvanising Dark Emu, Kim Mahood’s Position Doubtful and Saskia Beudel’s walking memoir, A Country in Mind, are sceptical of any Romantic sense of boundless plenty and adept, in their different ways, at negotiating the rough terrain of broken country; none could be described as “nature writing” but each is tuned, as Beudel puts it beautifully, to the ‘off-key tone of colonised land’. One of the great strengths of such recent Australian writing is that it is never just about the present, but works its way back into the past to make us think hard about what we think we already know; and it gives us a more complex set of tools to think about the future. "