Review – Storyland by Catherine McKinnon

Often my Aussie reads are dictated by what’s available on audio through BorrowBox. BorrowBox very kindly puts all their Aussie authors into a seperate category which makes finding them very easy and I tend to chew through a couple of audio books a week due to my commute and various other factors.

I had DNF’d Storyland last year because the narrator pronounces George Bass’s surname as base rather than bass like the fish, which is the only pronunciation I’m familiar with. At the time it was too much for my persnickety Virgo ear to deal with. This time I persevered and I’m so glad I did.

Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin in 2018 (which means it fits one of the Aussies Rule prompts) Storyland is a collection of interrelated stories that span from the journey of Bass and Flinders in the Tom Thumb through to a dystopian near future. All of the stories reflect on the impact of Europeans on the Aboriginal people and are based on the banks of Lake Illawarra.x c

(CW – one of the stories includes the very upsetting murder of an Aboriginal woman, which is based on a real event. There is a lot of troubling content including racism, family abuse, sexual assault and murder so ensure you look after yourself.)

The book is told through five viewpoints: Will Martin, who accompanied Bass and Flinders on their journey; an ex convict trying to make a life for himself in this new country; Lola, who runs a dairy farm with her siblings and the family are blamed for the disappearance of a neighbour’s daughter due to their race; Bel, who befriends an Aboriginal woman and her violent boyfriend, and discovers that people are not always what they seem; and Nada who sees the world as she knows it end.

I loved this book so much. The writing is beautiful and the skilful structure really takes the reader on a wild journey. Dipping into the lives of the characters was an emotional journey that leaves you hanging but then picks you up and sweeps you along. I would strongly suggest you get this on our TBR.



  • Aussies Rule prompt 14
  • Rogue Book Coven 18



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