Weekend Round-Up 2007 #16

The Age

There are a number of Australian authors who have been producing consistently high levels of fiction over the past few years, and you would be greatly amiss if you were to leave Gail Jones out of that company. Kerry (?) Goldsworthy agrees: "The great beauty and depth of Jones' writing, in this novel as elsewhere, has simultaneous appeal for lovers of intricate, elegant thought, and lovers of verbal style. There's also a great deal of her signature literary 'sampling', with quotations, allusions and echoes from fiction and poetry vying for space inside her own sentences: Emerson, Dickinson, George Eliot and of course Shakespeare, who haunts these pages like a colossal, chanting ghost." But there is more to Jones's work than just fine writing, "it's also hard not to read this book as Jones' own personal, formal and explicit statement of apology: to see it as a kind of enactment in fiction of her ideas about Australian race relations and reconciliation, and as a suggestion that if the country's government cannot bring itself to offer an apology then perhaps its artists, at least, might step up to fill the gap."

The case of David Hicks will haunt the Australian justice system for years to come. On the eve of his return to Australia to serve the remainder of his sentence, Gerry Simpson reviews Detainee 002: The Case of David Hicks by Leigh Sales. "There are many remarkable features of the strange case of David Hicks but perhaps the most remarkable is that, in the face of public indifference from the two major political parties in Australia, his detention without trial by Australia's main ally has become a cause celebre. Make no mistake, there is now a widespread sense among those electorally all-important 'ordinary Australians' that something is rotten in the camps of Guantanamo Bay." Just remember, nothing political is a coincidence in an electoral year. Nothing.

Leigh Redhead's novels about her stripper PI, Simone Kirsch, have been receiving some good notices over the past few years so it's good to see "The Age" reviewing her latest, Cherry Pie. As Debi Eker finds "Redhead's world is not a place to linger long in order to ponder the mysteries of the universe or the dark complexities of the human soul. Her books are fast and dryly funny. The plots zoom along at a zesty clip, populated by colourful characters." Can't ask for more than that.

The Australian

Geoffrey Lehmann comes to grips with Cultural Amnesia by Clive James, and likes what he finds: "Able to read a bit in Spanish, German, French, Italian and Russian, James is an ideal guide to his cast of cultural heroes and villains, who are as diverse as Coco Chanel, Adolf Hitler, Tacitus and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Despite his remarkable erudition, he is never snooty or obscure and is easy on the reader, getting quickly to the point. Once there, he may sometimes linger too long. That may be inevitable with a book of this size from an author who is so prolific. But almost invariably he retrieves the objects he is juggling, with a telling anecdote or brilliant quote."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 15, 2007 9:27 PM.

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