"Back to Bool Bool was first published in 1931, following Up the Country (1928) and Ten Creeks Run (1930). With the later publication of the intervening novels of the series - Prelude to Waking (1950), Cockatoos (1955) and Gentleman at Gyang Gyang (1956) - it becomes the sixth and last of this pseudonymous author's works: works that give a sparkling and authentic picture of the Australian squattocracy from the sixties to 1928.
"Here we have the weaving of all the earlier threads that glisten with the robust vitality of the early pioneers - a complex and fascinating fabric; for here are the great-grandchildren of the Labosseers and Mazeres, the Stantons and Healeys, the Brennans and Pooles, and some of their elders as well.
"The author obviously delights in the members of the clan who by art or intellect have enriched the traditions of their landed forebears. Mollye Brennan, known as Austra, has become a world-famed singer; Dick Mazere, a poet; Freda Healey, a brilliant commentator on life; Oswald Mazere-Poole, a Major-General and a member of the House of Commons.
"What heart-aches and nostalgias claim them when they gather to celebrate their heritage! There is pride in the days that were, and love of country is joyously proclaimed. But the relationship between the sexes is perhaps the main theme: love and affection and friendship versus marriage or amours and their consequences.
"This last novel of Brent of Bin Bin's great saga reaffirms his faith in the essential Australia he knew and loved; and it has the poignancy of a farewell."
The Major-General was rather a pompous little man; not so small when it came to weight, as he was naturally broad in the shoulder and beam and was acquiring a copious middle-aged spread. He swaggered up the mail-boat gangway followed by an obsequious steward, his honours obtrusive upon his lapels for all tip-and tuft-hunters to read:
He gave an order about his larger baggage. The steward acknowledged with a sharp salute. He too had been in the army, and the Major-General was a prize. The Major-General returned the salute with satisfaction. Nothing to equal army discipline for straightening up young men!
From the Angus and Robertson hardback edition, 1956.
The novel is dedicated as follows:
To MF., but for whose loyalty and support this effort could not have thriven.
To rare MSS., who nourished its inception.
To DC., who can keep a secret.
To Others to be mentioned later, or excused as they stay or betray the course.
I doubt it is too much a stretch of the imagination to replace those initials of MF as Miles Franklin and DC as Dymphna Cusack, and the secret mentioned as being the identity of this novel's author. As to MSS, I'm a bit lost. I'll have to do some research into the matter.
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Last modified: March 21, 2001.