Weekend Round-Up #20

In this week's Saturday "Age" Lisa Gorton looks at two first novels by Australian women writers: The Singing by Stephanie Bishop, and The Rose Notes by Andrea Mayes. (Is it just me or are there a lot of these about these days?) "The Singing is precise in its narrow range. It is composed of memories and observations and everywhere the narrator looks she sees her own obsessions, haunting her world like the reflection of a face in glass. The Rose Notes, on the other hand, is like those cattle tracks that Pearl follows: gently involving, rambling and broad-ranging."

Robert Manne, scourge of the right, and a leading intellectual voice in Ausralia has released Left Right Left: Political Essays 1977-2005, which traces the evolution of his politics over the period. Jeff Sparrow is enjoys the result.

Short notices are given to: Samurai in the Surf: The Arrival of the Japanese on the Gold Coast in the 1980s by Joe Hajdu, "The Gold Coast experience provides a revealing case study that raises wider questions about Australia's role in Asia, the impact of globalisation, and perceptions of national identity"; The Child Is Wise: Stories of Childhood edited by Janet Blagg, "Evocative without being nostalgic, these are memorable journeys into the 'hollow of the heart'"; Adagio for a Simple Clarinet by Stephen Downes, the story of a restaurant critics attenpts to learn to play a simple clarinet previosuly belonging to his father; The Smallest Giant: An Actor's Life by Michael Craig, "At the conclusion of this book Craig says he may have been happier as a cabinet-maker. That's the only statement that doesn't ring true in this gossip-drenched, thoroughly entertaining book."

In "The Weekend Australian" Ross Fitzgerald is very definitely impressed with Affection by Ian Townsend, which he feels "is a must-read book for 2005. As a powerful mix of truth and invention, it is a literary tour de force." Which doesn't beat about the bush. In the novel "Ian Townsend has done something quite remarkable in his first novel: drawing on government reports, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, telegrams, personal papers and oral and written histories, he has fleshed out into fiction a hitherto unknown and fascinating story of colonial Queensland on the cusp of a new century and of Australian nationhood." The story details the arrival of the plague in Townsville in December 1899. I knew it had been in Sydney about that time but not that it had progressed so far north. Okay, Ross, I'll get to it. I just have these Miles Franklin books to start and finish yet.

John Misto, television script-writer (The Day of the Roses about the Granville train disaster) has turned his hand to a gothic police procedural with The Devil's Companions. Graeme Blundell, "The Australian"'s resident crime reviewer thinks it move towards Harlan Corben territory with lashings of "alienation, despair and dissolution." It's good to see some good local crime fiction out there. The ranks are pretty thin.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 16, 2005 9:17 PM.

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