Weekend Round-Up #49

Hazel Rowley's big new biography Tête-à-Tête: The Lives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre is reviewed by Judith Armstrong in Saturday's "The Age". The more I read about Sartre the more I'm convinced he was a total shit. Maybe if de Beauvoir had just lined him up and decked him, she, him, and all the rest of us might have been better off. Somehow or other "Rowley is scrupulous in with-holding judgement, but the story she tells points to conclusions she doesn't want to make. There are lies, damn lies and existential lies -- but these last don't count."

Arabella Edge's first book was The Company which told the story of the wreck of the Batavia on the West Australian coast in 1682. Now she returns with The God of Spring which concerns another shipwreck, this time the Medusa in 1816; famously depicted by Theodore Gericault's enormous painting. Juliette Hughes is intrigued by the book: "There is a curious formulaic flatness to the prose here, with nothing at all new in it. Yet as one plunges further into the book, the writing takes on a compelling vividness that keeps the pages turning...You come away from it thinking of art, politics and the sheer strangeness of things."

Thuy On has a look at Rosalie Ham's second novel Summer at Mount Hope and finds that the novel is "more unabashed romance set against a backdrop of grapes, dust and drought than a historical document. This is light summer reading; a period-drama with the requisite sunny, fluffy-cloud ending." Probably a good time to publish it then.

In his short notes on fiction, Cameron Woodhead says: "Until you've read the Cliff Hardy series, you can't call yourself an aficiando of Aussie detective fiction." I read the first three or four back in the 1980s but haven't revisted the series since then. Might be time to catch up.

The Barry McKenzie films, those cringe-making comedies of the 1970s, have been re-evaluated by Tony Moore in his new book The Barry McKenzie Movies - what, no subtitle? In "The Weekend Australian" Peter Coleman puts his view of it right up front: "The riddle that Tony Moore sets out to crack in his new tribute to Barry Humphries is how Humphries can be at once aesthetic and vulgar, mad and cool, abstemious and reckless, conservative and destructive, among other inconsistencies. The usual answer is that Humphries is a comic genius. Consistency has nothing to do with it." And neither it should.

Terry Dowling gives a good notice to Lucy Sussex's new collection A Tour Guide in Utopia which "brings together 12 stories by one of our leading fantasists. Alongside unsettling tales of urban disquiet such as La Sentinelle and The Ghost of Mrs Rochester we have stylish takes on some of SF's best-loved themes with The Lottery and the title story. Erudite and classy, this collection shows again that Sussex is a master of the short form."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 12, 2005 2:29 PM.

2005 "The Age" Short Story Award was the previous entry in this blog.

Combined Reviews: The Broken Book by Susan Johnson is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en