Weekend Round-Up 2006 #16

We're a day late this week due to the Easter weekend holiday. I didn't have internet access at any time over the past few days. Actually, can't say that I missed it much. Now, if it had been a week I might well have been crawling up the walls.

"The Age" deals pretty much exclusively with non-fiction this week, at least in the big reviews. Glenn D'Cruz gets to grip with Australian theatre in his review of The Dolls' Revolution: Australian Theare and Cultural Imagination by Rachel Fensham & Denise Varney, with Maryrose Casey and Laura Ginters: "Put simply, Fensham and Varney argue that women entered mainstream theatre in the '90s and radically changed the theatre and how we think about our national culture and identity." However, "I can't help wondering whether the differences between the old boys club and the dolls' revolution are all that great in the end. For the most part, the dolls' revolution, like the revolution ushered in by the masculinist 'new wave', is a white middle-class revolution. I'm waiting for the one that really shakes up our sense of national identity."

Maria Tumarkin has a look at After Port Arthur by Carol Altmann, published on the 10th anniversary of the massacre that affected all of us in Australia. And, while she "had every intention of writing a respectful, hands-off review " of the book she isn't that impressed by the final result: "I don't believe that journalists can be morally or emotionally absent from their chronicles of human agony. They do not need to become the main characters, but it gets ugly and heartless if they appear to have nothing on the line."

In June last year I linked to an article by Helen Garner about Elizabeth Jolley. Jolley was not well then and it would appear that we aren't going to see any more new works from her in the future. In the meantime, however, we have Learning to Dance: Elizabeth Jolley - Her Life and Work selected and introduced by Caroline Lurie and now reviewed by Peter Pierce. "Learning to Dance is a mellow, enriching traverse of a career that began at an age when many have ended but was pursued with the vigour of an apparently youthful and certainly independent and unobliged spirit. For what Jolley achieved, and for Lurie's selection from it, we can give thanks."

In the print edition, but not on the website, is a small piece by Kerry Greenwood recalling her first book. Best line: "My first editor, Sophie Cunningham, sent me a sheet of dots that, when interpreted, turned out to be an emergency shipment of full stops, some of which she begged me to spread through my page-long sentences."

Short notices are given to: Heirloom edited by Marietta Elliott-Kleerkoper, Helen Gershoni and Floris Kalman, the second anthology of writing and art by members of the Melbourne Child Survivors of the Holocaust group, which "does indeed constitute an 'heirloom'"; Born of the Sun: Seven Young Australian Lives by Gerald Walsh: "The myth that dying young is one way to achieve fame is again exploded in this series of portraits of once-famous Australians who died in their early 20s and are now forgotten"; The Australian Miracle: An Innovative Nation Revisited by Thomas Barlow: "Central to Thomas Barlow's thesis is the concern we have become too pessimistic and that the situation is much better than we think it is", [I wonder where he actually lives - not in my world I think]; Overland 182: Culture Contested edited by Nathan Hollier: "At a time when the novel has been seriously side-lined by non-fiction, it's good to read cogent, forceful cases being made for the importance of literary fiction." This last statement was made by Fiona Capp and I wonder if she's reading the same books I am.

In "The Australian" Barry Hill has a look at Les Murray's new collection of poetry, The Biplane Houses: "Overall, The Biplane Houses indulges the senses. Not every poem is memorable, but there are enough very good ones to put the book in with the camping gear, or have it in the glove box, so that it can be consulted when an image that fits a Murray phrase comes over the horizon. As it will."

"The Courier-Mail" commemorates the 50th anniversary of the publication of No Moon Tonight, Don Charlwood's memoir of his time as a navigator in Bomber Command in World War II. "No Moon Tonight was one of the first war books after World War II to break away from the jingoistic view of war and describe it in a more personal and analytical manner."

While it's not written by an Australian, Stephen Leather's latest thriller, Cold Kill, will be of interest as it deals with a terrorist attack on Sydney - and, no, I won't rise to the bait even though I am from Melbourne. Steve Dow interviews the author on the eve of the book's publication for "The Sydney Morning Herald".

Also in the SMH, Catherine Keenan writes of writers' block in "When an author's muse packs up and leaves". As the cricketers say, you're only as good as your last innings.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 18, 2006 4:19 PM.

2006 Pulitzer Prize was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Bookcovers #8 - The Well by Elizabeth Jolley is the next entry in this blog.

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