Weekend Round-Up 2006 #39

The Age

I can't find a single Australian book reviewed in the pages of this weekend's "Age", other than the short notices listed below. A sorry state of affairs.

The main literary piece in the paper is Jane Sullivan's essay on the differences between history and fiction. It raises a number of questions that I will try to address later in the week.

Short notices are given to: The Heart of James McAuley by Peter Coleman: "...much of the time, it's a mechanical mix of potted biography and bland lit crit"; and The Dodger by Duncan McNab: "...is powerful testament to how far the sticky tentacles of corruption extended into [NSW's] police force, judiciary and government".

The Australian

Andrew McGahan won the 2005 Miles Franklin Award for his most recent novel The White Earth. Now he has published his follow-up, Underground, which is reviewed this week by Cath Keneally. Set in Australia in 2010, it appears as much a political novel as his last effort: "The blurb calls Underground 'the book that at least half the country has been waiting for', but there should be a laugh here for anyone. Though it wears its heart pinned proudly to its sleeve, Underground is that rare animal, a good comic novel, whose targets are all the loonies, not just the ones in the wrong party. Or rather, sympathisers with the cause of reason include defectors from the wrong party, and certainly from the present wrong religion."

Heritage, either cultural or environmental, is the subject of new books reviewed by Bob Birrell: Patriots: Defending Australia's Natural Heritage by William J. Lines, and Imprints of Generations by Robert Ingpen. "William Lines's book Patriots is a riveting account of the struggle to preserve Australia's natural heritage. The work's title encapsulates his view that the main defenders have been patriots, in the sense that they see Australia's fauna, flora and landforms as intertwined with their identity as Australians. They feel any loss personally, which explains their willingness to put their bodies on the line to prevent further damage...He will almost surely be condemned as an eco-nut, intent on dragging us back to the stone age. Mainstream politicians will never support his stance on conservation as long as most of their constituents put materialism first. Yet, as the book reminds us, eco-nuts can be heroes...Robert Ingpen's Imprints of Generations traverses some of the same ground, if with an emphasis on Australia's cultural heritage. It is attractively presented with numerous drawings, many by the author. Ingpen, too, is a patriot; he wants Australia to have the richness and depth of culture of Europe and his book is intended to help Australians understand and preserve their cultural inheritance."

Short notices are given to: Terry Dowling looks at two new Australian sf novels. Godplayers by Damien Broderick: "This savvy and sophisticated quantum view of the multiverse may well prove too demanding for its own good, chaming some readers, alienating others. You get the sense Broderick wouldn't have it any other way"; Prismatic by Edwina Grey: "Subtle and intriguing more than compelling, Grey's novel blends engaing period milieus and sound charcaterisation with visionary touches reminiscent with J.G. Ballard's The Crystal World". Graeme Blundell reviews two new Australian crime novels. Spider Trap by Barry Maitland (a DCI Brock and DS Kolla novel): "In his best tale yet, Maitland elegantly weaves race, violence, alienation and the insidiousness of family connections into multiple story-lines. His strength is never to allow the narrative to occlude the archeological dig into what lies behind the murderous event"; Hit by Tara Moss (a Makedde Vanderwall novel): "..she writes a kind of overblown Days of Our Lives romantic suspense, campy repetitive and glossy". The Cobbler's Apprentice by Sandy McCutcheon: "Although some of the characters are one-dimensional and elements of the plot difficult to follow, the novel's central conceit -- terrorism and counter-terrorism via bacteriological warfare -- works extremely well".

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 23, 2006 2:24 PM.

Reviews of Australian Books #33 was the previous entry in this blog.

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