Christina Stead Revisited

In this week's "Weekend Australian" Peter Craven extols the virtues of the great Australian writer Christina Stead, paying particular attention to what is considered her greatest novel, The Man Who Loved Children. In his excellent piece, Craven puts the main question and then
goes ahead and answers it:

"Why should we bother with Stead? Because she was one of the greatest writers, one of the greatest artists in any medium, this country has produced and one of the better writers of the 20th century. And, for what it's worth, the country of her birth is written all over her work wherever it is set. It was Australia that gave Stead that grand, long-breathed style that seems to sweep up the world in its sails, which is not afraid of eloquence or excess and which the reader has to accept as an article of faith or be lost on the rocks while the sea of Stead's magic sweeps out."
The other question that can be asked is: was she really an Australian writer anyway? After all, she left the country when she was in her mid-twenties and didn't return until her early 70s. The bulk of her important work was produced while she was in "her deliberate expatriation", as Craven puts it. I believe she was, though I must admit to her being another author I've sadly neglected. Still, I'm looking into what to take with me on a family holiday on a couple of months, and I'm currently tossing up between Stead and Hazzard. I think Craven has convinced me to give Christina a bit of a go.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 1, 2005 3:08 PM.

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