Weekend Round-Up #4

"The Age" prints the third prize winner in its annual short story competition with "Hotel Sheesh Mahal" by Liz Gallois. I have a feeling that might probably be it for this series of short stories.

In its review section, James Ley finds that Thomas Shapcott's novel Spirit Wrestlers "is interested in the conflict between inscrutable demands for spiritual purity and the imperfections of the flesh." Ley combines the Shapcott novel with another from the same publisher, Wakefield Press, in Hill of Grace by Stephen Orr. Here, Ley says, "it is encouraging to see a writer vary his style in an attempt to find a third way between the two poles of standard no-frills prose and the florid, overheated variety that tends to dominate contemporary 'literary' fiction." But why has it taken so long for these books to be reviewed? The publisher's website states that Shapcott's novel was published in July 2004, and the Orr in November 2004. July? What's the point in reviewing it now? Surely Shapcott has enough of a reputation as an Australian novelist to warrant a review with a little more currency.

On the non-fiction front, Andrew Singleton reviews Fractured Families: The Story of a Melbourne Cult, religious that is. Brief mentions are given to the latest issue "Overland", House on the Hill by Estelle Pinney; Drowned Wednesday: The Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix; and Stirring Australian Speeches edited by Michael Cathcart and Kate Darlan-Smith.

"The Weekend Australian" starts off its Review section with an interview with young adult/fantasy novelist Garth Nix. Pretty standard fare for interviews of this sort with the best line from Nix being: "You should never judge any genre by the worst example of it and I think it is quite narrow minded to think that a particular form will mean it is not worth reading." Exactly.

In the Books section, Andrew McCann rejects the recent panic-mongering over the "decline" in quality of Australian literature and explains why quality fiction is rarely discussed in mainstream media. (This article is reprinted from the latest issue of "Overland" - but it is not included on that website either.)

Books reviewed: The Remarkable Resurrection of Lazaros X by Les Terry, and The Secret Annexe: An Anthology of War Diarists by Irene and Alan Taylor, which includes some of Weary Dunlop's work from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in WWII.

Short reviews are given to Safari: I Won't Cry, Mumma by Janet Seath and Frank Scaysbrook, and Imagining Australia: Literature and Culture in the New World edited by Judith Ryan and Chris Wallace-Crabbe, which sounds interesting.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 23, 2005 12:06 PM.

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