Monday, 14 July 2014

Calypso Summer

It is thirty-nine degrees, his boss hasn't paid him, and he is too broke to fix his 'piece of shit ten-speed.' So begins 'Calypso Summer' by Jared Thomas.

Calypso (real name Kyle) Summer is viewed with suspicion by many people with whom he comes into contact. Not because of his near waist-length dreadlocks, but because he is an Aborigine.

Calypso is trying to make good decisions in his life since leaving school. However, Calypso's old life is never far behind him with his bad-influence ganja smoking cousin Run also living in the flat that Calypso rents.
After months of unemployment, Calypso finally scores a job with Gary who runs a DVD store. Gary then branches out in to a health food outlet. He has big plans for the new store-plans that involve Calypso and traditional bush medicines and remedies.

But Gary can by mysterious. Are Gary's intentions good or will he exploit Calypso and his newly found bush relations for his own ends?

'Calypso Summer' depicts young Aboriginal people in a contemporary setting and raises issues of Aboriginal heritage and connections as well as urban life, family and romance.

There are laugh-out loud moments when, for instance, Calypso is tricked into thinking he has been given a relaxing natural bush product for his bath, or when we find out how 'Run' was given his name.

I really enjoyed this book, which was the State Library of Queensland black and write prize winner for 2013.

-Ann

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