Weekend Round-Up 2007 #28

The Age

There haven't been many crime novels set in the corporate world in this country so Leon Gettier is pleased to see The Butcherbird by Geoffrey Cousins: "Cousins can spin a good yarn, and manages to create a great sense of Sydney, although there are passages where his prose goes over the top...A bit more of the Raymond Chandler ethos -- tight economical sentences where lessi smore -- would not have gone astray. Still, it is an entertaining read and the end seems to leave tings hanging nicely unresolved. Much like the dark side of corporate life."

Frances Atkinson finds that Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight, by Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow, "works for several reasons; we get to know Joel and Cat individually (both of them are a lot more vulnerable than they let on) and we get to see them interact together via the writing assignment, which provides the laughs...Humour is a big part of the book, but there's drama, too, and both Cat and Joel experience the aftershock of domestic unhappiness. There are more than a few surprises but it would be a shame to reveal them here - particularly one that you can't see coming. The romantic tension between Joel and Cat is finely balanced and the gentle revelation that each quite fancies the other, is sweet but not sickly."

The Australian

Daniel Stacey agrees with recent reviews of Rohypnol by Andrew Hutchinson and seems to get mired in the language without getting to grips with the aim of the book. "When a novel begins with the line 'Troy f---ed up', you can probably guess its ambition will be to shock and that this is unlikely to be carried out successfully. A ready use of expletives, like shape poems and the liberal application of exclamation marks, are devices that quickly lose their effect and purpose." What I can't figure out is why it's considered a sin to shock. Stacey should try reading middle-period Ballard, say Crash. He does hand out some praise: "There are some good, restrained descriptions of dysfunctional Australian teens pointlessly torturing their parents, whose disciplinary alternatives narrow down to jaded expressions of unequivocal love...Generally, though, the grisly elements dominate and are rendered boring by repetition or comical in the manner of Titus Andronicus, neither of which are the author's intentions."

There have been few film memoirs from Australia so it is interesting to see the release of Josh Hartnett Definitely Wants to Do This: True Stories From a Life in Screen Trade by Bruce Beresford. Phillip Adams raises the main point about film directors right up front: "are directors born mad and attracted to a profession where madness is de rigueur? Or are they driven mad by the process and the insanity of others? I don't think Bruce Beresford is insane. Not quite, not yet. When working with him decades ago, however, I realised he was eccentric. But amusingly so." If you weren't mad when you entered the industry you might well be after about 30 years.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 22, 2007 8:55 PM.

The Age Book of the Year Shortlists [Update] was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Literary Monuments #22 - Kylie Tennant is the next entry in this blog.

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