Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch tells the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity. Contemplate the big questions this novel raises and then use the notes below to get the discussion started at your next book club meeting.
Discussion points and questions:
- Tara June Winch chose to give voices to August, Albert Goondiwindi and Ferdinand Greenleaf. Why do you think she chose the split narrative? What is the impact of using such diverse voices and experiences?
- Poppy says, 'Nothing ever really dies.’ In what way is this idea supported in The Yield? What impact do those who are no longer alive still have on family and community?
- August Goondiwindi left Prosperous a long time ago but has never felt quite whole. Once back, August finds that she desperately wants to be home. What does Prosperous now offer her that it didn’t provide years ago? What are the fundamental elements of ‘home’?
- Poppy says 'just tell the truth and someone will hear it eventually'. Is it important for everybody’s stories to be told? What are the dangers in silencing some people’s stories?
- Elsie says, 'There was a war here against the local people. In that war the biggest victim was the culture, you know…culture has no armies does it.' What is it that Elsie is lamenting here?
- Language is a powerful tool that can place and displace people, empower or take control away. August says every family has its own special language. How can families be seen to have their own language? How does this help to shape families? Why might it cause difficulties for people outside of the family?
- After they discover his letters, August defends Greenleaf’s actions saying that he believed that what he was doing was right and he regretted the outcome. Aunt Missy tells her that he only regretted it when it negatively affected him. Which perspective do you agree with?
- How did you feel about Poppy’s method of bringing Wiradjuri language back through stories?
- How do you interpret the title of the novel?