Weekend Round-Up 2006 #36

The Age

The major piece this weekend is a long profile of David Malouf, by Angela Bennie, on the eve of the publication (today!) of his new collection of short stories, Every Move You Make. Malouf makes a rather interesting statement early on in the piece: "Once or twice I have begun what I have thought was going to be a book," he is now saying. His voice is gentle, mild, courteous..."Then what I see happening before me is it begins to develop a plot. And I know then it is not one of my books. I don't like things that are driven by plot. So at that point I abandon it." Which might explain a lot about Malouf's work, but which probably also sends a lot of other writers crying over their keyboards. No news on whether there's another novel in the works, though.

Peter Hill looks at three art books, Albert Tucker by Gavin Fry, Juan Davila by Guy Brett & Roger Benjamin, and Imants Tillers: One World Many Visions edited by Deborah Hart. The review doesn't appear to be on the website.

Hilary Bonney is in two minds about Paul Sheahan's latest non-fiction book, Girls Like You. On the one hand she praises him: "In the first three parts of this seven-part work, Sheehan writes in a strong, sharp, journalistic style about the gang rapes committed by four of the brothers in the winter of 2002 and the ensuing legal twists and turns." But later finds the author loses his way and his "good writing skills become lost in the passion of the argument."

Short notices are given to: Waterlemon by Ruth Ritchie which tells the story of the author and her husband as they recover from a severe brain injury he suffered while riding his bike: "this is not about being likeable, it's about the extremes of her experience, and Ritchie does brilliantly in making us understand and empathise"; Patriots: Defending Australia's Natural Heritage by William J. Lines - "In this passionate, provocative account of the conservation movement in postwar Australia, William Lines defiantly appropriates [the] term [patriot] to capture the dedication and commitment of conservation activists as they pit themselves against developers and government"; Botanical Riches: Stories of Botanical Exploration by Richard Aitken - "Sweeping in its scope, it surveys the history of the world from hunter-gather societies to the present from a botanical perspective and is gloriously illustrated with exquisite full-page drawings of plants that have seduced and enchanted mankind since Eve offered Adam a bite of the forbidden fruit"; and Out of Place by Jo Dutton is "a well-paced and elegantly written family saga that spans decades and moves from the windswept beaches of WA to the arid beauty of the Red Centre".

The Australian

David Malouf is also the subject of the main piece in "The Australian" this week. Rosemary Neill calls him the "elder statesman of Australian literature", which might be a tad harsh, even though Malouf is now 72. Anyway, Malouf, as you might expect, appears very interested in the writing process, explaining that "The power of attention that I can sustain through a long novel, I find that may be waning." Which gives some explanation of my earlier query. His best line comes almost immediately after that: "Books ought to demand to be written, rather than be a by-product of your idea that you are a writer."

The release of The Dodger by Duncan McNab which tells the story of Australia's most notorious cop, Roger Rogerson, is rather apt at this time of investigations into parts of the Victoria Police. Though, I suppose, there isn't much of a co-incidence given the number of these inquiries that seem to have been held over the past few years. John Dale reviews the book this week and finds that it "provides the reader with a personal insight into the 'us versus them' mentality that pervaded NSW police during the Rogerson era, a force aptly described as the best money could buy."

Short notices are given to: The Arrival by Shaun Tan, which is "a masterpiece for all ages and is Shaun Tan's finest and most ambitious work to date"; Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah: "Hopefully this book will find its way into every classroom, because by using concise, thoughful and highly cominc prose, Abdel-Fattah contemplates the loss of identity and how fear and deception can only lead to greater worries"; The Penguin Book: Birds in Suits by Mark Norman: "Useful for school projects, entertainment or interest, this well-designed book may even attract the curiosity of readers who are ambivalent to other animals"; The Curer of Souls by Lindsay Simpson: "one fascinating aspect of [which] is its ability to play with the subtlety of historical phases rather than lumping all past events under the heading of history"; and Inventing Beatrice by Jill Golden "is less successful, although welcome for its creative courage in a writing scene that's rarely adventurous".

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 2, 2006 9:02 PM.

A Few Items of Interest was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Bookcovers #32 - The Cardboard Crown by Martin Boyd is the next entry in this blog.

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