Weekend Round-Up 2007 #2


The Age

Not a lot of reviews are being added to "The Age" website lately - only one from this past weekend, so far. There is no way of telling if this is a just a hangover from the New Year slowdown or a new policy from the paper. Only time will tell.

It's strange that a travel book by Mark Twain should be published by Melbourne University Press, but such is the case with The Wayward Tourist: Mark Twain's Adventures in Australia which has appeared with an introduction by Don Watson. Twain passed through australia as part of his world-wide lecture tour, put together to get him out of debts arising from some bad investments. Jeff Sparrow reviews the book and comments on the similarities between Twain's work and recent efforts from Bill Bryson, even down to Twain's declaration of his approval of "the finest breeds of man-eating shark in the world". But the best piece comes at the conclusion, quoting Twain: "Australia is fertile in writers whose books are faithful mirrors of the country and of it shistory. It has a brilliant and vigorous literature, and one which must endure." As Sparrow spins it: "The Wayward Tourist accordingly allows readers a certain patriotic pride. Not ever nation can boast that a literary giant such as Mark Twain regards its writers with nearly the affection he bestows on its man-eating sharks."

The Melbourne-based community radio station 3RRR is celebrating 30 years on air, and Michael Williams is fastinated by the stations "biography", Radio City: The First 30 Years of RRR by Mark Phillips: "...the best local histories are faithful to the passionate residents who own the stories while simultaneously demonstrating a broader relevance and truth. [This book] is one such history...The loyal 3RRR listener will find much to illuminate and delight in this exploration of one of Melbourne's great institutions; more importantly, the general reader will find it a fascinating cross-section of the shifting culture of a city."

Steven Carroll is impressed with Gideon Haigh's latest collection, Silent Revolutions: Writings on Cricket History: "Haigh's style is as classical and crisp as a perfectly timed cover drive...Another fine innings, from a class act."

The Australian

Two collections of stories get an ambivalent review from Heidi Maier: Dark Roots by Cate Kennedy, and Diamonds in the Mud and Other Stories by Joy Dettman. "At her best, Kennedy writes with almost surgical precision, distilling the essence of her characters and situations to a minimum of words...Dark Roots boasts fine stories but as a cohesive collection it is less successful...Like Kennedy, Dettman grounds her fiction in everyday situations, although her stories are more bush fare than explications of contemporary suburban existence. What further distinguishes her, unfortunately, is a gift for the simplistic and unoriginal."

Christine Cremen finds that Kerry Greenwood's latest Phryne Fisher novel, Murder in the Dark "is a return to form. A diverting Australian reinterpretation of that golden age classic, the country-house mystery, it's set in rural Victoria at the height of summer, instead of somewhere snowbound in England."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 15, 2007 4:01 PM.

2007 "Age" Short Story Competition Runner-Up was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Bookcovers #47 - The Complete Book of Australian Verse by John Clarke is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en