Sixty-Seven Days

Yvonne Weldon

Sixty-Seven Days
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Sixty-Seven Days

Yvonne Weldon

‘We don’t say any words - everything has been said through two sets of eyes, two entangled souls and endless kissing.’


Evie has been raised in the heart of Aboriginal Redfern, by a proud trailblazing Wiradjuri family. She remembers so much about the previous world - the Dreamtime, the ancestors, and the knowing - but she also harbours a dark pain that is becoming almost too much to bear.

And then Evie meets James, a young man radiating pure love who fills her life with light. On the cusp of adulthood, with their whole lives ahead of them, they travel to Evie’s beloved country, the central west of New South Wales and the Riverina regions. Swimming in the waters of the Kalare, as known by the Wiradjuri, and in the Murrumbidgee, singing with her ancestors, listening to the spirits.

The new world created between Evie and James is one they did not know they were missing. Now they can’t leave it alone. They are no longer separate - they are one, they are whole together - until a sudden event leaves them seeking answers to one of life’s most eternal questions: is love strong enough to withstand anything?

An intense and mesmerising story of first love and longing, suffused with Wiradjuri Dreaming, family and culture, about a future dreamt and a future taken, by an important new voice in Australian fiction.

Review

Readers may be familiar with Yvonne Weldon as the current Deputy Chairperson of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, the first elected Aboriginal councillor for the City of Sydney, and a recently appointed member of the Order of Australia for her services to First Nations communities in New South Wales. Her accomplishments are mighty in scope, and with Sixty-Seven Days, she adds published author to that extensive list.

Shortlisted for the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished manuscript in 2016, Weldon’s debut novel draws heavily from her Wiradjuri identity. Set in 1993, its protagonist is a 19-year-old university student, Evie, who is surrounded by her large, loving Wiradjuri family. They’re proud of their traditions and deeply connected to their culture. Evie meets James and the two fall in love immediately. Over the course of 67 days, we watch the two young lovers tentatively feel out a path forward together, but Evie has deep scars from her teenage years, from her encounters with a man primarily referred to as ‘the Predator’, and this story contains wells of darkness as well as dappled sunlight.

A simple love story at heart, Sixty-Seven Days is written in an intimate and direct style. The novel’s first-person, present-tense narration feels almost akin to reading a diary entry or memoir, lending a slight undercurrent of inevitability to proceedings. Weldon is trying to create a vision of family, one that honours and protects its members, its wider community and its Country. An interlude where Evie takes James to meet her various aunts, uncles, grandmothers and cousins in the Riverina region is full of nourishing family interactions. Consider this, Weldon seems to be asking, how strong Wiradjuri love can be, how unbroken and how liberating.


Jackie Tang is the editor of Readings Monthly.

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