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Mudrooroo (aka Colin Johnson) had planned to write a multi-volume autobiography, but passed away in January 2019 shortly after completing the first installment, Tripping with Jenny. It is published here posthumously, marking the end of an illustrious literary career.Tripping with Jenny follows the adventures of a young Aborigine identified only by his nickname, Skippy, originally from outback Western Australia, the author of a successful first novel, Wild Cat Falling. He and his wife Jenny set out from Melbourne on the overland route to London via Asia. It is the mid-60s, and the book draws a vivid picture of a time of social unrest and experimentation, of rapid cultural change. On their year-long journey, the couple spend much time hunting for ganja (hashish), ‘tripping’ on marihuana and other drugs. The author’s interest in Eastern religions leads to an initiation into Buddhism that becomes an important part of his existential quest for identity. A picaresque novel of self-discovery, the book explores what it means to be ‘on the road’ and ‘at home’; it highlights the importance of exploring new political horizons in a complex part of the world characterized by the disappearance of an obsolete Imperial order and the trauma of decolonization, as well as the search for alternative cultural models and experiences on the route to ‘swinging London’.In Tripping with Jenny, Mudrooroo chooses not to re-visit the controversy regarding the origins of his biological family. However, the book provides important new insights into the formative years of his life, as a young adult and budding writer. Tripping with Jenny leaves no doubt regarding Mudrooroo’s insistence on an Indigenous identity based on a life lived and acknowledged as an Aboriginal person. This book includes photographs from the ‘tripping, and an Afterword by Gerhard Fischer, on the importance of this novel in the life of Mudrooroo.
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