Reviews of Australian Books #34

It's been over a year since Tom Keneally's history of Australia's first settlement, The Commonwealth of Thieves, was published here in Australia, yet it only now seems to be getting an airing in the US. Wendy Smith reviews it in "The Washington Post", and finds that while "... Keneally paints an impressionistic picture of a society in the making", his "evocative narrative is at times a bit too novelistic."

In Canada's "Globe and Mail" Douglas Bell is not very impressed with Things I Didn't Know by Robert Hughes. "The memoirist, having scraped and clawed his way out of the post-colonial hole to which fate had consigned him rises high above the little people and their little quibbles and points out (really for their own pimply-faced good) how small they really are. Of course, it's all a hopeless cause since, so tiny are the wretched little ants, they cannot make sense of his genius any more than the blind man can sense the proportion of the elephant: more to be pitied than disparaged." While it's fair to say that reading only one review of a work is not a good way to get a detailed view of it, this review from Canada deserves more scrutiny than many others. The Canadian temperament and geography are probably closer to Australia's than anywhere else. And this is the first time I've seen Hughes compared to Conrad Black.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 30, 2006 12:12 PM.

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