Reviews of Australian Books #61

The Complete Stories, a 508-page volume containing the entire body of short fiction by David Malouf has been published in the US, and is reviewed in "The LA Times" by Art Winslow: "it is clear ... that a writer of enormous seriousness and compassion has been laboring in the harsh sunlight of that nation-continent for a generation. Malouf may not be as well known in America as his countrymen Peter Carey and Thomas Keneally, but the release of his Complete Stories brilliantly illustrates his range and the adhesive quality of his prose and characters, which stick in the mind as if, as one of his characters puts it, nothing is to be forgotten: 'Not a soul. Not a pin.'"

Sam Sacks also looks at Malouf's collection in "Open Letters: A Monthly Arts and Literature Review": "The colonization of a wild continent offers an irresistible metaphor for the writing of fiction: in both, through the dedicated work of husbanding, shepherding, the building of some manner of infrastructure, and the establishment of comprehensible codes and rules, the task is to impose a viable -- and moreover, meaningful -- order on otherwise chaotic and indifferent elements...But at least we can say that the dueling social impulses of growth and destruction will cause a profound imprint on anyone caught up in them, and any writer who comes to maturity in the midst of an active colonization will have special insight into a powerful and expansive artistic motif. This has certainly been the case for David Malouf, of Brisbane, Australia."

Damien, on the "Crime Down Under" weblog, is impressed with All Those Bright Crosses by Ross Duncan, as am I: "When searching for a few words that might effectively describe All Those Bright Crosses I considered mystery, and there is a hint of a mystery within, but more definitively this is a psychological struggle reminiscent of that which is seen in a noir novel. It is a contemporary story of hope and forgiveness found after a battle with the compulsions that threaten to consume you."

Max Barry's novel, Company, hits home in Santa Cruz where it is eyed with some alarm by Bill Condy: "Author Barry, 34, a former Hewlett-Packard employee, bites gently but he draws blood. He deals with some heavy stuff in this, his third novel, but his quick pace and casual, almost breezy writing style refuse to be weighed down. You may finish this book in a long weekend, but it's the kind of read that sticks with you long after the last page." The title of the review calls it "A Dilbertian sature".

In "The Washington Post", Ron Charles contemplates Sophie Gee's novel, The Scandal of the Season, and is quite taken with it: "To every slump-shouldered geek who ever had to watch the glitterati at the prom, Gee offers a delicious cup of revenge. [Alexander] Pope promised that 'charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul,' and The Scandal of the Season offers both charms and merit, an extravagant costume drama infused with the poet's incisive wit and moral

James Bradley's novel, The Resurrectionist, has now been published in the UK and it is given a brief review this week in "The Daily Telegraph" by Jeremy Jehu (third item down): "James Bradley's classically claustrophobic Gothic chiller is a brooding memento mori about the fragility of life and our most modest expectations from it. Only the most insanely cheerful reader should underestimate the gloom-inducing power of his sombre, lyrical, opium-trance prose."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 6, 2007 3:19 PM.

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