Weekend Round-Up #34

The major item in the latest "Saturday Age" is a profile by Penelope Debelle of Gay Bilson, who won this year's "Age" Book of the Year Award for her book Plenty. The most interesting part of the piece - well it's all interesting but... - comes at the very end: "Bilson is still amazed to realise the book contained as much of her as it does. 'I thought it was simply essays about reading, convergences and cooking," she says. "Now I realise it is so intensely personal.'" Sounds like a writer whose writing is infused with her personality, as well as the other way round.

Geoffrey Robertson is one of thse people I could easily take to with an axe: they just seem so bloody good at everything they do. Or maybe the skill lies in choosing the right topics. He's obviously found his life's niche in the law and occasionally produces a book to prove it. His latest, The Tyrannicide Brief is reviewed by Michael Kirby, no less. The book tells the story of the trial and execution of the English King Charles I, in 1649. While Charles looms large, as one might expect, the book mainly concerns his prosecutor, John Cooke, Cromwell's solicitor-general. "If Cooke is not entitled to all of the praise that is heaped upon him, his role in history is worth remembering. And it is told in this book with Geoffrey Robertson's flair and advocate's passion."

Better known for her plays, Sunnyside is only Joanna Murray-Smith's third novel in 13 years. It is reviewed this week by Juliette Hughes, who states that the novel "does revisit the theme of now-quaint excursions such as Peyton Place: white middle-class infidelity. But times change - Peyton Place's publishers described it as scorching; it treated inconvenient sexual attachments in far less detail and with incalculably less assurance than does Joanna Murray-Smith."

Literati: Australian Comtemporary Literary Figures Discuss Fear, Frustrations and Fame by James Phelan is compared to a recent book of Ramona Kaval's, Tasting Life Twice, which has been mentioned on this weblog a few times over the past month. The Kaval takes a deeper look into small number of writers, while Phelan attempts to cover the full range of the writing experience from blank page to post-publication review. Both appear to have their place.

Short notices are given to: Babies in the Bush: The Making of an Australian Image by Kim Torney, who : "...deftly traces the obsessive telling of stories in which lost children become embelmatic heroes and nation-builders like the early pioneers and explorers"; Crackpots, Ratbags & Rebels: A Swag of Aussie Eccentrics by Robert Holden: "Sydney, in particular, seemed to specialise in witches, bag ladies, and exhibitionists. Holden's entertaining book provides something for everybody - from men with whips to women who did the splits"; and Seven Deadly Colours by Andrew Parker, who "...argues that the eye is evidence for, not against evolution".

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 22, 2005 2:47 PM.

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

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