Reviews of Australian Books #48

The novelist Justin Cartwright reviews J.M. Coetzee's latest collection of essays, Inner Workings, in "The Independent": "It is literary criticism of the highest order. And the title is apt, because what Coetzee does is never superficial or opportunist; this is a close examination of the way the writers he is discussing work, and the historical and cultural context in which they work, and it is informed by a breathtakingly wide understanding of their influences and preoccupations." Cartwright then goes on to opine that reading these essays has given him a greater understanding of Coetzee's own fiction. Be aware that these critical essays are just that, not insubstantial book reviews but full-blown pieces for "The New York Review of Books".

Tom Keneally's latest novel, The Widow and Her Hero, appears to have been published almost simultaneously worldwide. Or, maybe, that should be Commonwealth-wide. Anyway, the novel is reviewed this week in "The Independent" by James Urquhart, which he finds "is a morally charged narrative familiar to regular observers of Keneally's fascination with orchestrated violence and private morality. Two decades ago, Schindler's Ark famously explored complex matrices of loyalty, bravery and compassion but, in more recent years, The Tyrant's Novel imagined the uncomfortable slide from personal integrity to irreversible complicity with an oppressive authority...The Widow and her Hero reads enjoyably well because of Keneally's solid research and assured, intelligent style, but it has less gravitas than these recent works."

Lucinda Byatt also looks at the new Keneally in "The Scotsman".

I missed "The Sydney Morning Herald" review of Garth Nix's latest YA novel, Lady Friday, on the weekend so thought it best to include it here. This is the fifth book of seven in Nix's series "The Keys to the Kingdom", and the reviewer, Mark McCann says "It's an engaging and playful work that rewards the reader's participation in its unfolding design with increasingly odd vistas and eccentricity on a cosmic scale. It's a quest and a game, an adventure and an inquiry; the somewhat obsolete designation of 'an entertainment' describes it beautifully...The writing is crisp and clean, the action is rapid and satisfying and parts of the view are most passing strange. This is a thoroughly diverting tale that should well satisfy the legions of fans who await it."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 14, 2007 9:59 AM.

C.J. Dennis and the Sydney Harbour Bridge was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Literary Monuments #12 - Robert Hughes 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