Contemporary Portraits and Other Stories
"A man called Heubler decides to photograph every person alive. And to start him on his way Murray Bail locates twenty-three "types" in the remarkable first story of Contemporary Portraits: one person who is incapable of sin, one who may outlive art, one whose unique sexual capacities have no outlet...but there are twenty more categories, each contributing to an astonishing catalogue of humanity's bizarre underworld of the rare that lurks among the ordinary. Murray Bail is a writer whose serious concern with fiction as art still allows him to entertain and intrigue: his stories are packed with allusions, crackling with games and ideas central to philosophy, literature and painting. In "Cul-de-Sac (uncompleted)" we enter a lucid dream-world where the rules of perspective and the delights of language and metaphor take on the actuality of street-scenes. In "The Drover's Wife" an australian classic is "re-written" to obey a more elaborate imagination; in "Portrait of Electricity" a museam to a great man reveals the confusions of everyday existence, and a strange portrait of the man himself. "
Life of the Party
The Drover's Wife
Portrait of Electricity
The Dog Show
From the UQP hardback edition, 1975.
This book was later published under the title The Drover's Wife and Other Stories.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Murray Bail page.
Last modified: April 29, 2002.