Essential Modern Australian Novels

In my other "life" as the owner of a batch of websites devoted to Australian literature I occasionally get emails from people who want an introduction to this branch of literature but don't know where to start. They have either read something by an Australian author and want to read more or intend to visit the country in the near future and think that reading our novels will be a good introduction.

I'm actually a bit impressed by these people. I would assume they intend to read any number of guidebooks and travelogues such as those by Lonely PLanet and Bill Bryson, but to take the leap of faith to want to read novels to round out their knowledge is quite admirable. I always respond to these, and try to spread the range to give them a good idea of where Australia is at and where it's been. I also try to provide them with a list of books that are fairly readily available here and overseas.

So my list, currently, is:

Drylands by Thea Astley
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail
Illywhacker by Peter Carey
The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner
Snake by Kate Jennings
The Well by Elizabeth Jolley
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith by Tom Keneally
The White Earth by Andrew McGahan
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

And it's interesting to note that two of these were only read this year.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 14, 2005 2:09 PM.

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