Reviews of Australian Books #64

In the "Guardian", Kathryn Hughes relishes Sophie Gee's novel The Scandal of the Season, which tells of the events leading up to Alexander Pope's poem "The Rape of the Lock". The reviewer finds many similarities between the goings-on in early 18th century England with that country today: "Here, then, is a strong reminder that historical fiction, no matter how hard it tries to situate itself in the documented material past, is always engaged in an act of mediation between then and now. Just as Beardsley re-drew "The Rape" for the absinthe generation, Sophie Gee has rewritten it for the kind of people who keep up to date with the Prince William/Kate Middleton saga, even though they pretend otherwise."

Adam Bresnick attempts to come to grips with Cultural Amnesia by Clive James, in "The Times Literary Supplement". He has some trouble determining the book's audience: "At first glance it is hard to know for whom this book was written, as scholars will most likely find its courses too brief and too allusive, while laymen may well experience a certain bewilderment in the face of so much information." As one such "laymen" I've dipped into the book and haven't been bewildered. Overwhelmed, maybe, but not bewildered. But, generally, Bresnick does a pretty good job of reviewing the book: looking at James's cultural coverage, his writing style and his politics. It's a big book and needs a fair bit of reviewing. "James's volume is an exercise in what the psychoanalysts call 'anamnesia', or unforgetting, his attempt to present and preserve what he has found most vital in the culture and history that he and the rest of us have, to a greater or lesser extent, lived through over the past decades. That Clive James remembers it all so well and rescues so much that has often been forgotten is a testament to what an excellent, passionate reader he continues to be."

David Malouf's latest, The Complete Stories, is spreading out all over the US and reviews of it are popping up here and there. The latest is from "The Deseret Morning News" based in Salt Lake City. Susan Whitney finds that the stories build "an entire world, a richly described and fascinating world."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 5, 2007 9:50 AM.

Australian Books to Film #27 - Schindler's List was the previous entry in this blog.

Poem: The Dreamers and the Doers by Grant Hervey is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en