12 Edmondstone Street
"Each house, like each place, has its own topography, its own lore. A complex history comes down to us, through household jokes and anecdotes, odd family habits and irrational superstitutions, that forever shapes what we see and the way in which we see it. In his book, David Malouf, one of Australia's most prestigious writers, takes an unsentimental journey into his past. Beginning with his childhood home, he moves on to show other landmarks in his life, and the way places and things create our private worlds. Written with humour and uncompromising intelligence, 12 Edmondstone Street is an unforgettable portrait of one man's life."
"He is sui generis...the sort of writer for whom to come to attention" - Bulletin
"A powerful writer" - Sunday Telegraph
Memory plays strange tricks on us. The house I lived in as a child is no longer there. Like most of old South Brisbane it has been torn down and a factory stands on the site, part of a process that had already begun when I first knew the area more than forty years ago.
Edmondstone Street even then was 'mixed'. Beginning at Melbourne Street, not far from the Bridge, and skirting the south side of Musgrave Park - a dark, uneven place, once an aboriginal burial ground but later redeemed and laid out with Moreton Bay figs of enormous girth and a twelve-foot checkerboard - it consisted chiefly of old-fashioned, many-roomed houses from the days when this was the most fashionable area south of the river; but there were factories as well, Simpson's Flour and the Vulcan Can Company, and a private hospital, the Yasmar, so called because it was the matron's name spelt backwards. I was born there, so was my sister; and in due course, after the fashion of those times, we went back and had our tonsils removed.
From the Penguin paperback edition, 1986.
This page and its contents are copyright © 1997-2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to David Malouf Page.
Last modified: April 18, 2002.