Reviews of Australian Books #65

In "The State", out of South Carolina, USA, Claudia Smith Brinson is impressed with Jannette Turner Hospital's latest novel, Orpheus Lost, which she finds to be "beautifully written and disturbing". There are some problems though: "An Australian native who is Carolina Distinguished Professor of English at USC, Hospital sounds a bit tone deaf when it comes to Promised Land, S.C., where the blacks speak colloquially but their white neighbors don't. And she's a tad too fond of poetic language that enraptures but does not develop character." In the end, however, "she deserves great and sustained attention for the fine eye and mind she turns to the problems of our times. We should listen to her music."

Colleen Mondor has a look at a number of different short story collections in the October edition of the "Bookslut" magazine, including Margo Lanagan's Red Spikes: "Margo Lanagan is an utterly unique writer and her new collection, Red Spikes is further proof that her surreal and rather uncomfortable stories stand alone on the YA shelves. Weird stuff happens here, but it is a Lanagan-weird and thus provocatively entertaining."

Jesse Karp takes on one of the hardest reviewing jobs in tackling Shaun Tan's The Arrival. He handles the job pretty well though: "Using the tools of sequential art like a life-long pro, Tan employs visual metaphor, panel size, lighting and color to make the archetypal experience of an immigrant leaving his family and coming to a new land personal, emotional, heart-breaking, breathtaking and joyful. The fantasy landscapes Tan depicts are both terrifying and awe-inspiring for their size and complexity, and every person the immigrant meets tells an involving tale of his or her own. We are drawn into this journey, into this land as if we ourselves were the arrival, unable to read the writing, understand the traditions, comprehend the complexity of the city, heart-broken over the departure from our family. And Tan does this all without using a single word."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 24, 2007 10:55 AM.

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