Weekend Round-Up 2007 #37

The Age

"The Age" has got its weekend book reviews up on its website earlier than most previous weeks - last week's didn't seem to appear till very late, hence the absence of this column - and most of the book reviews are represented except for, you guessed it, the one and only Australian book under review. Ah, well.

Delia Falconer looks at the last memoir of Donald Horne, Dying: A Memoir, who was "a public intellectual long before the term was invented. Horne was an intellectual thinker in whose writing a generosity of intellect shone brightly." Falconer is quite taken by the book, comparing it to one of best of recent years. "Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking was impressive in navigating and articulating a widow's grief. But, for my money, the Hornes' less mannered account is the more moving, especially in its portrait of both sides of a marriage; unlike Didion's, it made me cry."

The Australian

Simon Leys reviews Christopher Koch's new novel, The Memory Room, and praises it no end: "Those who have read The Year of Living Dangerously and Highways to a War won't need to be told that Christopher Koch is a master of storytelling. This talent is displayed, more convincingly than ever, in The Memory Room. The characters are alive and interesting: we care for them and wonder what will be their fate. The plot develops seamlessly, tensions build without any self-indulgent intrusions of literary effects (it is a characteristic feature of good novels that they do not allow themselves to be anthologised, they do not lend themselves to quotations: you absorb them whole, you cannot select passages or detach beautiful pages here and there; it all hangs together in organic unity). The diverse locations of the action, in turns familiar and exotic, are suggested with sparse and effective atmospheric touches. Dialogues ring true: they convey the characters of the respective speakers and propel the action. Should the book ever be adapted to the big screen (and I can anticipate the superb film that might be made from it), the scriptwriters will find the most delicate part of their work has already been completed for them."

Tim Fischer, ex deputy Prime Minister and second lieutenant, has a long look at Vietnam: The Australian War by Paul Ham, and finds that avoiding American humiliation was the prime objective: "It is a reminder that Australia did issue warnings to the US that it was all going wrong, and that bad tactics and poor strategies were being used. It also offers a benchmark for the performance of the Pentagon and American political leadership in relation to the Iraq War."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 30, 2007 9:47 PM.

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