Combined Reviews: The Marsh Birds by Eva Sallis

marsh_birds.jpg Reviews of The Marsh Birds by Eva Sallis.

As usual, Australian book reviews of this novel on the web are few and far between. The best of the ones available is by Lisa Gorton in "The Age".

"If we didn't have detention centres in the desert where incarcerated children have gone on hunger strike, sewing their lips together, you might have said that Eva Sallis' story of a young Iraqi refugee was improbably bleak. If we didn't hear of bureaucratic bungles in our detention centres, day after day, you might have complained that her account of how the system failed him beggared belief...

"In Proust's study of memory, In Search of Lost Time, he asks: "How could a purely descriptive literature have any value at all, when reality lies hidden beneath the surface of little things of the sort it documents . . ? "He argues for a literature that records what you might call the interior life - what he calls the true life - of people. The Marsh Birds, on the other hand, is insistently and convincingly topical; committed to setting out how politics affects individual lives in inescapable ways. And surely, if it can help to dismantle Australia's practices of detention, it will have value."

In "The Weekend Australian", Elizabeth Meryment states that the novel "does exactly what good art should do: it questions, probes, illuminates and humanises a topical moral and social issue. This book is an important contribution to the national debate about our Government's treatment of asylum-seekers." Which is pretty much a ringing endorsement: "this is a tightly woven tale, beautifully narrated, genuine and believable."

You can also read what Sallis has to say about the motivations behind her writing on the Australian School Library Association site.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 26, 2005 2:54 PM.

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