Non-Fiction

December 2019

Cryptic Cargo

Centred on the arrival narrative of a single book, the Kasasol Ambia (Stories of the Prophets), in a mosque built in 1887 at the edge of the desert in Broken Hill, historian Samia Khatun’s Australianama, is, like the object of its inquiry, a book of books. The mystery of ‘who/what’ brought this 500-page compendium of Bengali Sufi poetry, printed in eight volumes between 1861 and 1895 in Calcutta, to this outpost of empire down-under, launches Khatun into a decade-long odyssey from Sydney to Dhaka, Perth to Calcutta, Melbourne to Lahore, and deep into the archival reserves of nineteenth-century colonialism.

This is your brain.
This is your brain on drugs.

Fleming deploys an intelligence that does not seek to draw a firm line between a before and an after; instead, the confessor is borne on the question of drugs and what they mean, rather than born again after drugs have been left behind.