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288 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published February 2024
ISBN 9781922725899


Bonny Cassidy

An important literary memoir which views white settler family history against the impacts on the Indigenous people with whom they interact.

A powerful and timely work of non-fiction, Monument traces the complex consequences of colonial settlement across the generations of an Australian settler family of Anglo-Irish origins, and the impacts on the Indigenous people with whom they come into contact. Bonny Cassidy’s fourth book moves seamlessly through genres in its recovery of the past – part poetry, part prose, microhistory, memoir, travel writing, and sometimes imaginative speculation.

A poet and critic, Cassidy follows the threads and detours signalled by research, historical objects and testimony, to make a case for the value of ‘collected memory’ against the tide of settlement and silence. Monument considers how non-Indigenous Australians might absorb First Nations truth-telling; and what this means for acts of speech, and writing. Should our memories serve the living or the dead, the past or the present? Why do we need new monuments in Australia, and where should we expect to find them?

Putting monumental history under erasure, Bonny Cassidy’s new truths fall out like bright pebbles: a family revelation, cracks in the archives, fragments of theory, quiet listening. Monument releases dangerous emotions and wry reflections—it is an experimental gathering place for a new kind of Australian writing.
Stephen Muecke

Written with a poet’s sensibility and a researcher’s forensic eye, Cassidy’s excavation and re-imagining of settler memory, denial and forgetting is a challenging and generous contribution to the essential literature of truth-telling.
Kim Mahood

A peculiar history. Intimate with loss. Evasion within shadows; just as Australia thinks.
Bruce Pascoe

…[A]n essential amendment to ‘settler memoirising’ and de-monumentalising the colonial assault on country and its peoples. Superbly written and pivotally deconstructive.
John Kinsella

Monument is an exhumation and an invitation, a way to help make a truth, with a courage to yarn and go on… An undertaking of thoughtful compassion and intimate beauty, of careful rage and studied joy, a story as old as time itself and yet contemporary for today. For every reader who wants to share in that work, and to feel renewed, this book is where we continue.
Robert Wood

For readers of lyrical memoirs such as Maggie Smith’s You Could Make This Place Beautiful, and of examinations of Australia’s colonial past and present, such as David Marr’s Killing for Country and Chelsea Watego’s Another Day in the Colony.
Angela Glindemann, Books+Publishing

It is by acknowledging erasure that Cassidy finds a way to reveal the past. This is how Monument becomes the author’s own contribution to truth-telling, and one example of how non-Indigenous people are participating in this process.
Brooke Bland, Sydney Morning Herald

Cassidy dances along the threads of her ancestry, from Tasmania to Ballarat and back again, studying the margins as much as she does the records themselves… Monument is a book engaged in profound and weighty concepts that demand your attention.
Joe Murray, Readings

Marvellous…a book with blood in the veins.
Declan Fry, ABC Arts

Forgetting fixes the past as detached events from which no psychological insight or feeling can emerge. By applying a poet’s pointillist attention to national and domestic myths, Cassidy reawakens these frozen tableaus.
Mireille Juchau, Saturday Paper

About the Author

Bonny Cassidy

Bonny Cassidy is the author of three poetry collections – Certain Fathoms, Final Theory and Chatelaine (shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award). Her essays and criticism on Australian literature and culture have been widely published, and her awards include an Asialink fellowship and a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship. Her new book, Monument, is forthcoming in February 2024.

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