The Chantic Bird
"The Chantic Bird is the confession of a teenage anarchist, a paradoxical character combining a ruthlessness and contempt for contemporary society with a great tenderness and warmth for his small brothers and sisters and for Bee, the girl who looks after them. Like all of David Ireland's novels, implicity in The Chantic Bird is an indictment of the bovine mindlessness of collective man, of the job-captives, the home-owning wage slaves."
"One of the most remarkable novels, first, fifth or fifteenth - to appear on the scene for many a long day... Compassionate and pitiless, savage and sad, ironic and naive, horrifying and farcical..." - Sydney Morning Herald
"Gloriously and savagely comic." - Adelaide Advertiser
I'm only telling you this to let you know what a silly thing it is to live like I do. What it was, I got sacked from my seventeenth job for fighting and gambling - I don't know which - and because I was hardly ever there. I was gambling all right, but someone called me a cheat and swung at me, I moved my head and swung back and this kid went in to one of the bosses with blood coming out of his mouth saying I was a standover man. At least the man that lectured me before they gave me my pay said I was a standover man, but he'd been a policeman before he got this job as personnel officer, so he might have been a bit homesick for the office and a good old backhander in the friendly atmosphere of the charge room. I don't know.
From the Sirius paperback edition, 1979.
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Last modified: December 8, 2004.