Weekend Round-Up 2006 #24

The Age

John Pilger is one of those writer/journalists that you either love or hate - there just doesn't seem to be much room for any other reaction. His latest collection, Freedom Next Time is reviewed by Jeff Sparrow: "...[his] kind of unabashed identification with the poor and dispossesed enrages Pilger's critics but, for my money, it's a welcome change from the instinctive empathy most political reporters offer to the powerful." I must say that I find Pilger's reporting style to be rather refreshing. Even if he appears to be wrong, he's wrong in a manner that gets you thinking. And I'd rather read him that a bunch of other journalists who only seem to re-arrange press releases. As Sparrow puts it: "Yes, the continuing misery in countries that have suffered so much can be depressing, and the campaigning style of Freedom Next Time will not appeal to everyone. Still, if you're dissatisfied with media-lite and its take on the world, Pilger's full-cream, un-homogenised reporting might be just a taste worth acquiring."

Marshall Browne, author of Rendezvous at Kamakura Inn, looks back on the writing of his first published book, City of Masks in 1977. "My strongest memory is of the sense of excitement during the writing, when it seemed the story was coming straight off the Hong Kong streets via the clacking keys of the Olivetti. Those were the days!"

Short notices are given to: On Looking at Looking: The Art and Politics of Ian Burn by Ann Stephen: "This rigorous yet intimate study of one of Australia's early conceptual artists is a refrsshing reminder that there is much more to the history of Australian art than the familiar big names"; Drawing the Crow by Adrian Mitchell: "it is in his re-creations of the moments of his early life where his writing is strongest"; Each Way Bet by Ilsa Evans who "again plays with the notion of opposites, this time using the device of role swapping to tease out the flaws and glories in the respective lives of two sisters."

The Australian

Australian books are thin on the ground in "The Age", as they are in "The Australian" this week. Phil Brown reviews Billy's Tree by Nicholas Kyriacos, a debut novel which revolves around the expulsion of the South Sydney Rabbitohs from the National Rugby League competition in 1999. But he doesn't think it comes together: "As good as it was to see the greatest game of all in a novel, despite being a league tragic I couldn't sustain my interest; everything went on far too long. Perhaps the author might be encouraged to discover his inner novella the next time around."

Jill Rowbotham looks at Noel Preston's Beyond the Boundary examines his own life during the 19 years of Joh Bjelke-Petersen's premiership of Queensland from 1968. "Woven throughout his memories of these and later episodes that occurred as his career as an ethicist took off is a personal story that includes bouts of depression, divorce and battles with cancer. Preston has put great effort into understanding and explaining his life, and in doing so has provided insight into the values and compulsions of his generation."

[Update: the review of John Pilger's book in "The Age" has found its way onto their website.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 12, 2006 3:08 PM.

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Australian Bookcovers #16 - The Boy in the Bush by D. H. Lawrence and M. L. Skinner is the next entry in this blog.

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