Weekend Round-Up 2007 #12

The Age

Fiona Gruber reviews two new Australian novels, and, while you get the impression she thinks they are both relatively successful, you have to read between the lines to decipher that. "Running away, both literally and figuratively, features in Provenance by Jane Messer, and The Pepper Gate by Genna de Bont. The novels have other themes in common -- both protagonists are artists and journeys between Queensland and Victoria assume metaphysical significance. And at the heart of both is the compulsion of flight, and the necessity of facing up to its consequence." You get a reasonable plot summary but not much of a statement of worth.

Two memoirs of Holocaust survivors are contrasted in author profiles by Angela Bennie: East of Time by Jacob Rosenberg and Parallel Lines by Peter Lantos. "Although their subject matter is at a fundamental level the same, in formal terms the two books couldn't be more different. "Rosenberg's East of Time is structured like a mosaic that works on the reader as a poem does: its clusters of events and characters, its emotional tones and rhythms, all seem to be linked together as if by an invisible thread...Lantos' Parallel Lines, on the other hand, is written in a much more direct, descriptive prose. It presents the world as it is, rather than one filtered through a lyrical, fanciful imagination."

The Sydney Morning-Herald

Thomas Shapcott is quite taken by Portrait of a Friendship: the letters of Barbara Blackman and Judith Wright (1950-2000) which was edited by Bryony Cosgrove. "This huge volume is a portrait of two people. Letters are intimate things but they also record, at their best, the fine nuances of feeling, of interrelationships, and are (seen over a long period, as here) flagposts of a journey. In this case, of two journeys. "Coming hot on the heels of the National Library of Australia's massive collection of Judith Wright's letters, With Love and Fury, the present volume gives us a portrayal of Wright not only as a poet but as an increasingly dedicated activist for environmental and Aboriginal matters." At 638 pages it's quite a hefty volume.

The Courier-Mail

Adair Jones finds that Tom Keneally's novel, The Widow and Her Hero "gives us a glimpse into the cold shadow of a war that has never quite disappeared."

Shane Strange comes to the realisation that some "the most interesting writing happening in Australia is at the level of Young Adult fiction" in his review of After January by Nick Earls.

And Sue Jones enjoyed Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything by Alex Jones. "If you enjoy a cornucopia of ideas and digressions, then you will enjoy this novel. Those with more knowledge of literary theory and semiotics will probably have a greater appreciation of the author's satirical reach. "For me, an author who has his protagonist follow the trail of rabbits, cooked and uncooked, through Helen Garner's books is an author with his tongue firmly in his cheek."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 16, 2007 9:16 PM.

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