Dark as Last Night

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is renowned for his novels and short stories. This latest collection contains many sad stories, but ones that are often softened by the affection and loyalty exhibited between family and community members. Set in the 1970s, one of the strongest themes is how tough life was for working class kids – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Prejudice, poverty and inequality were rife, as was family violence. But so also we’re the values of sibling support and the strength of the women who often held families together. The white characters are not depicted as one-dimensional stereotypes, but add to the complexity of the challenges faced by working class families. Every story is a gem. Not to be missed.