Just tell the truth and someone will hear it eventually.
The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha.
Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.
August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land – a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.
Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is 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.
“A groundbreaking novel for black and white Australia.”
“Take courage when you read this book. You'll need it. Winch asks big questions of this country. Is the answer within us?”
“Mesmerising and important.”
“It’s a fictional scenario which provides a breadth and depth of possibilities that Winch takes full advantage of—and the result is a work of dazzling originality, in structure, language, and intent. Quite simply, nobody has written anything quite like this before.”
David Gaunt, Gleebooks Gleaner
“The Yield sings up language, history, home, blood - all the important stuff”
“A work of immense scope and sensitivity.”
“A beautifully written novel that puts language at the heart of remembering the past and understanding the present.”
“Nothing short of a landmark Australian novel, simultaneously timeless and yet urgently a story for now, with sentences that’ll knock the wind out of your gut.”
“The Yield is a bleak and beautiful book that eloquently phrases the weight of history, with an ultimately uplifting sensibility at its heart: that of the power of storytelling across thousands of years.”
Anne Barnetson, Australian Bookseller + Publisher
“Winch’s urgent novel is a chance to listen. A moving and evocative story of Aboriginal Australia. Hope shines through this contemporary novel of a culture dispossessed and the importance of preserving language. Winch is a Wiradjuri author and here she writes about the Wiradjuri language which was once thought to be extinct but has now been preserved. The Yield is current, timely and an important must-Read for all Australians.”
Dean, Better Read Than Dead
“It’s another mesmerising tour de force, throwing a spotlight on Australia’s broken heart.”
Juliet Rieden, Australian Womens Weekly
“So, so beautiful – and like nothing I've ever read. Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch is incredible. There are passages of sublime prose; sentences that shook me and took me new places; and parts that made me bawl for everything that has been and is being lost, stolen and damaged for First Nations people in Australia. The Yield follows the story of August who, after spending years overseas, returns to find her ancestors’ land – her family’s home – being repossessed by a mining company. The words of her grandfather, Albert Gondiwindi, weaved through August’s story, make this book a must-read! Albert’s dictionary is a masterpiece and some of the most moving prose I’ve read. You might know Tara June Winch from her first novel, Swallow the Air, which won several Australian Literary Awards and is a firm staff favourite at Better Read Than Dead. The Yield is my favourite Australian book this year – and it might be yours, too!”
Emma Co, Better Read Than Dead
“This is a big hearted, hopeful book. More hopeful, maybe, than we deserve.”
Miles Allinson, Readings
“A delicate story of great power”
ABC Radio National The Bookshelf
“I just finished this book and it is ABSOLUTELY extraordinary. Intensely moving, gripping, brutal and yet so full of generosity. I learned so much esp about the lyrical Wiradjuri language. Brilliant.”
Gretchen Shirm, The Australian
“The Yield uniquely and powerfully shows how revolutionary a shift from an imported language to an Indigenous language might be ... such aesthetically and ethically ambitious writing. Reap the wisdom this book yields.”
Maria Takolander, The Saturday Paper
“And The Yield is about stories – those we tell ourselves, those that are told about us, those that disempower and help us survive. And it's about language, its magical ability to capture a spirit, reveal a culture and allow us to revisit the past.”
Melanie Kembrey, The Sydney Morning Herald
“The Yield is the work of a major talent. It hypnotises with its lyricism, with the juxtaposition of horror and hope, and the candid look at family, country and history. It’s a work to be savoured, to be enjoyed in the sun on a winter’s day, and then to be shared—as widely as possible!”
Madelaine Dickie, National Indigenous Times
“This is an astonishingly elegant and powerful second novel.”
Louise Swinn, The Sydney Morning Herald
“Wiradjuri writer Tara June Winch is not afraid to play with the form and shape of fiction. Three different voices narrate The Yield in bite-sized chapters: dictionary maker and elder Albert Gondiwindi, his granddaughter August, and nineteenth-century missionary Reverend Greenleaf. It takes some time to get used to this structure, but ultimately it is rewarding. Winch is highly skilled at creating portraits and at moving us forward into space. These are not static images. Refreshingly, the characters in The Yield are capable of communion, humour, and dignity despite tragedy, sexual violence, and substance abuse. In this deft novel of slow-moving water, they are borne by love, not pity.”
Ellen Van Neerven, Australian Book Review
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards
Shortlisted • 2020 • Fiction
Download The Dictionary of Albert Gondiwindi from The Yield to accompany the audiobook here.