Reviews of Australian Books #59

As the paperback edition of Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers is released in the UK, two years after the hardback version, Nick Claxton is still impressed with the work: "Although there has been some movement, especially in offsetting carbon emissions, since the book was first published, Flannery's criticisms of Australia and America in particular largely remain. And on a broader scale, the issues he raises are still as urgent as ever - and The Weather Makers is still excellent as both a Cliffs Notes for concerned readers to get their facts straight and an impassioned call for action."

The Literate Kitten, on her eponymous weblog, really enjoyed Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, but is decidedly unimpressed by the two subsequent novels: "JM Coetzee's novel Disgrace was one of the best I've read in a decade. Unfortunately, the two novels I've read subsequent to Disgrace thudded in my sensibilities like drinking Kool-Aid after a glass of Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet." Not a big fan of meta-fiction it seems.

Eric Brown runs a brief review of Sean Williams's novel Saturn Returns in "The Guardian" (second item): "In the first book of the Astropolis trilogy, Williams renders the passage of aeons, and the rise and fall of civilisations, with cosmic poignancy."

Les Murray's poetry crosses all boundaries and can speak to a wide variety of peoples. John Freeman, in "The Star-Tribune" from Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota, certainly seems to think so: "A great many gravel roads in his Australia are convict-laid, the assist-maker of first encounters between conqueror and conquered. Not surprisingly, the outback appears frequently in his work, especially in this volume. Even the poems that aren't about landscape manage to evoke it...Much of Murray's work feels like this -- weary of human folly, but not so jaded as to preclude wonder, and shot through with a frisson of violence. The Biplane Houses, named for an architectural style common in his part of Australia, toes a delicate line between these poles." (Last item in the combined review.)

Thrillers and crime novels, it seems to me, don't have to work as hard as poetry to be accepted in foreign lands. But that is not to say they don't have to be pretty good to rise up out of the pack and be noticed. In "The LA Times" Timothy Rutten thinks Michael Robotham's latest novel does exactly that: "The Night Ferry is an altogether superior thriller: intelligent, morally concerned, skillfully told and deeply respectful of both its readers and its characters. It is what Graham Greene used to call 'an entertainment,' which is a fairly serious compliment."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 13, 2007 11:28 AM.

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