Other People’s Country
These book club notes have been formulated to stimulate discussion about Other People’s Country and about Aboriginal welfare. The author of this book was an older woman whose children had grown up when she left family and friends to follow her heart to a strange new place to work. Twenty years later, she wrote the memoir. The following questions might be helpful for understanding the book and stimulating discussions about Other People’s Country.
- Aboriginal communities in Australia are frequently in the news. How are the stories in this memoir different from those you have read or heard in other media?
- Has this book given you any new insights into the way Aboriginal people live in outback Australia?
- How has it changed your opinion of people who go to work on Aboriginal communities? What new things did you learn about black and white relationships in this country?
- There seem to have been many secrets in the community that the nurse was not told . What kind of secrets do you think the Martu kept from her, and what purpose do such secrets serve?
- Why do you think the author wanted to write this particular story in the way she has?
- Given her lack of trauma nursing experience, should she have accepted the position as a community nurse? What did she learn about the bureaucracy of government departments?
- Some authors say they have written memoirs but have later been found to be unreliable or downright untruthful. What would help you to decide if a narrator in a memoir was honest or dishonest? Can you believe the narrator in Other People’s Country?
- What do you think would make it difficult to write an honest memoir?
- This book has been described as a travel memoir because it describes a journey to a different place and culture from the author’s own. Are there differences between travel and tourism? Which do you prefer?
- How hard would it be for you to live somewhere where you do not know the language or customs?
- Are older people, especially older women, brave or foolhardy when they put their hands up for difficult or challenging new experiences, especially when they do not know what to expect?
- What are some of the challenges people expect to face in their middle and later years?
- What are some of the other challenges and new experiences people take on just for the pleasure of it?