After a decade in Europe, August Gondiwindi returns to Australia for the funeral of her much-loved grandfather, poppy Albert, at Prosperous House, her only real home and also a place of great grief and devastation.
Leading up to his death her grandfather has been compiling a dictionary of the language he was forbidden from speaking after being sent to Prosperous as a child. Poppy Albert was the family storyteller and August is desperate to find the precious book that he had spent his last energies compiling.
The Yield also tells the story of Reverend Greenleaf who recalls founding the mission home on the same site and recording the language of the first residents, before being interred as an enemy of the people, being German during the First World War.
Many questions - of environmental degradation, pre-white contact agriculture, theft of language and culture, water, land, religion, consumption - are delicately and carefully planted in the prose. But there is such a quiet accretion of characterisation and beautiful storytelling that it is not until the end that the reader realises they have completed a circumnavigation of our fundamental concerns.