Reviews of Australian Books #60

Not so much a review of the book as a commentary on its contents - yes, I do see a difference there - Hugh Brody's examination of Sven Lindqvist's Terra Nullius in "The Guardian" comes to no real conclusions about the book. As a guide, Lindqvist is a Swedish writer who travelled to Australia to examine the plight of the Australian indigenous peoples, and to try to determine how they got there. "His starting point is the hideous notion that Australia, at the time of first colonisation, was terra nullius, the land of no one. This colonist legal myth established that here were millions of acres available for European settlement. The actual owners and occupiers, the people lumped together under the term Aborigines, were not human enough, or present enough, to be someone." I suppose we have to remember here that Brody is writing for a non-Australian audience so terms such as terra nullius have to be explained, though the length of that explanation appears to squeeze out other commentary. Brody goes on to state: "Lindqvist's new book is also a reflection on guilt and responsibility: many Australians have welcomed the idea that the nation as a whole has to say sorry for what has been done to the Aborigines, while no government in power has allowed any such official apology." Lindqvist comes down on the side of an apology, as you might expect, and with which I have no qualms whatsoever. The problem with this review is that it gives the impression that the book would be quite short - given that only a couple of topics are tackled in the review - but it runs for 272 pages. I think I might quite like to read this book, though I can't really tell from this piece. I'll put it down to space constraints. Anything else and this reviewer will need to have a long think about what constitutes a review and what its readers would hope to take away from it.

Matthew Tait welcomes Sean Williams back to his roots in a review of the author's new novel, Saturn Returns on the "Horrorscope" weblog: "After the debacle of the Books of the Cataclysm, Sean has revisited the path where he started -- and, dare I say it, where he belongs." The reviewer found himself "electrified".

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 20, 2007 2:29 PM.

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