Weekend Round-Up 2007 #21

The Age

It's a slow old time down at the paper this week. No updates on the website and only one review of two Australian books. I checked last year's entries on Matilda from about this time of year and there definitely seems to be a pattern emerging, and not a good one.

Sean Gorman reviews two books about the dark side of Australian history, and finds one in touch with its subject and one rather confusing. "[Bruce] Pascoe's boldly titled Convincing Ground: Learning to Fall in Love with your Country is, to say the least, a sprawling, roller-coaster account of Victorian colonial and contemporary Australian society. It is about the people whose actions or inaction have created that society as he sees it." On the other hand, Sven Lindquist seems like an uninformed Swedish blow-in with his book Terra Nullius: A Journey though No One's Land: "Perhaps the key to the book, which is quite readable, comes at the very beginning and shows the map of Europe superimposed onto a map of Australia. It is quite intriguing to contrast the spatial and semiotic constructions of two very different land masses. But after the initial novelty one is simply left a tad confused as to what it was meant to achieve."

The Australian

Kathy Hunt reviews Sorry by Gail Jones, and, for once, a reviewer is unimpressed with the work: "Technically, the main problem with Jones's writing is that there is just too much of it. She leaves no phrase unturned in her attempt to gild what is an ordinary tale...Title or apology, Sorry is a failure. Its form has been corrupted with skill and probably the best of intentions. Unfortunately, the result is what too many people think of as good writing: the book you buy but never read, the novel you can't see for the words."

I know of Queensland University Press, Melbourne University Press, and the University of Western Australia Press, but National Treasure by Michael Wilding is the first novel I've seen from Central Queensland University Press. Maybe I just haven't been paying attention. Not to be confused with the Nicholas Cage film of a few years back, this novel is more David Lodge than Dan Brown, as Christopher Bantick discovers. "Michael Wilding has form. Even a cursory glance at his prodigious backlist suggests here is a writer who is well experienced in the changes and chances of the Australian literary community. It is the posturing of writers, fleeting fame and their savage turning on one another that Wilding explores in this black comedy. But while the novel is witty and genuinely funny, there is an acerbic subtext."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 19, 2007 9:33 PM.

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