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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Gifts Of The Peramangk’ by Dean Mayes

I was first introduced to Australian author Dean Mayes, back in mid 2011, when I read and reviewed his debut novel, ‘The Hambledown Dream’.

I often wonder whether the debut novelists who contact me, will persevere with their writing careers, or if a single published book is fated to be their contribution to the literary world. It was great therefore, to hear from Dean, in my opinion a very talented writer, for a second time, now that his novel, ‘Gifts Of The Peramangk’ has been published.

I have made this cover image a little larger than usual, to highlight, what I hope you will agree, is its touching poignancy and ethereal beauty.

Image of the book cover 'Gifts Of the Peramangk'
In 1950s Australia, during the height of the divisive White Australia Policy, Virginia, a young Aboriginal girl is taken from her home and family and put to work on an isolated, outback station, in the cruelest of conditions. Her only solace: the violin, taught to her in secret by a kind-hearted white woman – the wife of the abusive station owner. However, Virginia’s prodigious musical gift cannot save her from years of hardship, abuse, and racism.
Decades later, her eight year old granddaughter, Ruby, plays the violin with a passion Virginia once possessed. Amidst abject poverty, domestic violence and social dysfunction, Ruby escapes her circumstance through her practice, with her grandmother’s frail, guiding hand. Ruby’s zeal attracts the attention of an enigmatic music professor, and with his help, Ruby embarks on an incredible journey of musical discovery that will culminate in a once in a life time chance for a brighter future. But with two cultural worlds colliding, her gift and her ambition will be threatened by deeply ingrained distrust, family jealousies and tragic secrets that will define her very identity.
I have to confess that when I first read the title of this book, I had no idea at all just who, or what  Peramangk was. I started to research the word before I thought to open the Kindle download to check that all was there okay, only to discover that Dean had included a potted definition and explanation of the word, for myself and other readers who are not so well informed!
In the Adelaide hills of South Australia lies a triangular wedge of countryside extending from the Barossa Valley in the north to the southern reaches of the Fleurieu Peninsula. This is the lands of the Peramangk Nation and the home of the Peramangk Aborigines – A tribe steeped in a unique culture and held with a mystical reverence.
A welcome return to Fiction Books, for author DEAN MAYES
Photograph of Australian author Dean MayesDean Mayes, hails from Victoria, Australia, although these days he lives in Adelaide, with his partner and family.
Dean grew up with an early love of words – a trait a little out of step for most children of his age and has been writing and creating for most of his life…or at least for as long as he could wield a pen and knew how to use it.
His creative streak was inspired by his third grade teacher, Mrs. Furnell, who challenged him in his creative writing exercises which he initially “sucked at”. After producing a surprisingly poignant piece about a soldier’s experience of war (based on his grandfather’s experiences), Dean received his first writing award – a Purple Dragon sticker.
The genesis for what became his first published novel came in 2008, when Dean started an internet blog and decided to craft a story ‘on the fly’, with no bells or whistles and put it up in instalments each week. He would announce a new edition on Facebook and Twitter and let anybody who wanted to, read it. Dean suddenly found himself with a dedicated readership, a following who, hooked on the story, would ‘tune in’ each week to read the next instalment and encourage Dean to keep writing more.
One particular message, was to signal the turning point in Dean’s writing career. It invited him to have a look at Central Avenue Publishing of Vancouver. After talking with CAP’s creative director Michelle Halket, Dean became very serious about his project. He stopped publishing the story to the blog and began constructing the manuscript, stealing time whenever he could to work on the story. Within a few months the manuscript, now renamed, “The Hambledown Dream”, was completed, submitted and accepted for publication.

Since its publication, ‘The Hambledown Dream’ has received critical acclaim from across the globe and has fired Dean’s creative spark to continue writing, thus bringing us up to date, with the publication of his second novel, “Gifts Of The Peramangk”.

As the book was an author review request, this free Kindle download was sent to me by Dean Mayes.

This will in no way influence any comments I may express about the book, in any blog article I may post. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • I’m developing a bit of an interest in Australia after reading Down Under by Bill Bryson this year. I recently watched a doc. by Chris Tarrant about a railway trip he took from Adelaide, via Alice Springs to Darwin. It was fascinating and I’d like to read some more books based in this interesting country next year. Look forward to your review of this book.

    I hope you have a lovely Christmas Yvonne. I haven’t been around much due to being busy but also I’ve been reading a very long book so have not posted much. Of course, now that I’ve finished the book I don’t have time to review the thing! Typical. Merry Christmas!

    • Hi Cath,

      I haven’t been around much lately either, as we are currently on holiday in Florida, although we only have three days left to go!! Temperatures are up in the 80’s, with lovely blue skies, although it sounds as though we are getting out just before a big winter storm hits the eastern seaboard.

      I had intended to catch up on my reading whilst away, but it hasn’t worked out like that and I have done none at all!

      I have several Bryson books on my shelves, although I haven’t read any. You keep recommending him though, so maybe next year, I shall get around to trying him.

      Dean’s first book was an excellent paranormal romance, however this one sounds totally diverse and an excellent story which I am looking forward to reading.

      Oh well! Back to watching the zebra and giraffe on the savannah, sat in my rocking chair!

      I hear that you have been getting some horrendously wet weather in your part of the world, so I hope that it isn’t too bad for you and that you have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I haven’t actually read this book yet, but it does sound very intriguing and is from a genre that I have never read before, so I am looking forward to it.

      Some of our extended family have joined us for Christmas, so it should be fun!

      My best wishes for the holiday season to yourself and your family, catch up properly in the New Year, when I am fully connected again!

    • Hi Nikki,

      Arrived home a few hours ago, full of cold and very jet lagged, but having had a wonderful time. Nobody seems to able to do Christmas quite like Disney!! They even ordered in the good weather for the entire three weeks!!

      Have a great New Year and I shall endeavour to catch up with some of your posts very soon.

  • Hi Yvonne. I’ve been meaning to get over here to wish you a Happy Holiday season 🙂
    The book sounds good. I agree, It’s nice to hear from an author again after reading their debut novel.
    Happy reading, the Peramangk theme to this story sounds interesting.

    • Hi Naida,

      I am definitely looking forward to reading this book. As you say, the theme of the story is so different from anything else I have read lately and to be honest, is of a culture which I know very little about, apart from very rudimentary lessons back in school, many years ago!!

      Wishing yourself and your family a Very Happy New Year.

    • Hi Vicki,

      I seem to have received some great titles from those authors who have contacted me direct with review enquiries. So many are from genres and have storylines, which I probably would never have chosen if I were browsing a book shop, yet which I am so pleased I accepted for review.

      I know very little about the indigenous Aborigine population in Australia, that I am very intrigued by this story and knowing Dean’s attention to detail, I shall definitely expect to come away from having read this book, much richer from the experience.

      I wish yourself and your family a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

  • Hi Yvonne,

    I cannot believe I have only happened across this post just now and I must say, I feel terrible for having missed it – 4 months after the fact.

    I want to extend a much belated thank you to you for apprising your readers of my new novel which, if I may say, is doing well presently.

    I too, look forward to seeing what your take on it is.

    Appreciate your support Yvonne.


    Dean M.

    • Hi Dean,

      I am so pleased to hear that ‘Gifts Of The Peramank’ is doing well for you.

      I promise that it is creeping up my ‘to read list’ and that there will be several more mentions for it, before the definitive review is published.

      I generally only contact an author when the final review has been published, so don’t feel bad about not noticing this post, although I do appreciate you stopping by of course.

      Take Care.

  • Well, I’ve added you to my Pulse reader now so there should be no excuse for my missing your updates now.

    I can totally appreciate the demands you face being an ‘in demand’ reviewer but, based on your previous review of my first novel, good reviews (ie – constructive critiques) are hard to find therefore I, as an author am happy to wait for yours. Whatever your thoughts on it, I am indeed looking forward to seeing what your take on it is.

    Great to reconnect with you.

Written by Yvonne