Weekend Round-Up #32

I was gently chided last week by one reader of this litblog who firstly corrected my use of the work "fulsome", I was thinking it had completely the opposite meaning, and who then thought I was being cheeky in its use. No, not cheeky on that point, just plain wrong. I was, however, being more than a little cheeky in suggesting that the reviewer allocated by "The Age" to cover Robert Drewe's new novel, Grace, was a slower reader than Debra Adelaide in "The Australian". But it was only tongue-in-cheek, and it's good to see James Bradley reviewing the novel in this week's "Weekend Age". Bradley is one of the better reviewers doing the rounds at present and reading his work you can tell that writing a good review is an art form in itself. Although he isn't given a lot of room to expand on any themes he might wish to run with, he does put the novel into the context of Drewe's past work, drawing some interesting conclusions:

   "...this sense of restless unease is central to Drewe's work. Written
   through all his writing from The Savage Crows onwards is a
   sense of the ambiguous and unsettled nature of belonging, not just
   in the deep sense in which the notion is usually understood in
   Australia, but in a personal sense...In this respect it's difficult
   not to conflate the work with the writer: wound deep into The
   Shark Net
is the sense that Drewe - the West Australian, the
   writer - has never shaken his sense of himself as a perpetual
   outsider, all appearances to the contrary...In Grace, Drewe's
   first novel in close to a decade, this unease takes on a new form,
   one that pushes Drewe's vision of Australia as a country founded on
   the air in new directions, forging imaginative connections between
   the experiences of the newest - and most controversial - arrivals
   and the many waves of migration that preceded them, while
   simultaneously exploring the effects of this unease."

Michelle Grattan reviews Tom Frame's book The Life and Death of Harold Holt and finds that: "The book's limitation is that it does not manage to get the reader sufficiently into the skins of Holt and his colleagues, or to convey dramatically enough the feel of Australian society in these years when the baby boomers were becoming adults."

In the annals of this country's black humour, the death of Prime Minister Harold Holt must rank as one of the high points (or should that be low?). How is it possible to actually "lose" a Prime Minister? But we did it. Holt was lost at sea in December 1967 after going for a swim off Cheviot Beach south of Melbourne. Given the number of people that accompany current PM John Howard on his morning "power walks" I suspect he wouldn't be allowed to undertake a Holt-like swim without a shark cage.

Short notices are given to: Falling Forward by David Metzenthen which is found to be "...a likeable and affecting story"; Hackers by Bill Apro & Graeme Hammond tells the story of Apro's pursuit of a Melbourne hacker known as 'Phoenix': "Apro, who is now a director of a computer-security company, paints himself as a hard-done-by lone crusader. Even today, he argues, the authorities still don't take computer crime as seriously as it deserves to be taken"; Dragonsight by Paul Collins who is: "a prolific writer, publisher and editor. His strength is a keen grasp of the particular genre his is writing for, whether it be SF, fantasy or non-fiction. In this case Collins' voice is nicely pitched to the young adult fantasy market; it is rich, lively and at times funny"; The Accidental Developer by Henry Pollack: "You may have misgivings about his life's work, and the dismissive remarks he makes about green bans and environmental activism of the early '70s make uncomfortable reading. But he has a sympathetic voice and the obvious combination of sensitivity and strength is an attractive one."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 8, 2005 9:57 AM.

2005 Age Book of the Year Shortlists was the previous entry in this blog.

2005 Hugo Award Winners Announced is the next entry in this blog.

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