Weekend Round-Up 2007 #41

The Age

Alan Stephens on Vietnam: The Australian War by Paul Ham, and The Vietnam Years: From the Jungle to Australian Suburbs by Michael Caulfield: "A case can be made that of the many conflicts in which Australians have fought, only World War II was a war of necessity. In other words, it was our free choice to participate in World War I, Malaya, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq...Two first-rate books by journalist and author Paul Ham and television and film director Michael Caulfield are the latest contributions to the history of the West's war in Indochina. Different in purpose and style, they are complementary in effect...Ham's is the more wide-ranging, resembling in its ambition David Halberstam's masterful The Best and the Brightest. Based on voluminous archival research and scores of interviews, it provides an absorbing political context...Caulfield's book is narrower in scope than Ham's but is no less effective. Part autobiographical -- Caulfield was an anti-Vietnam protester - and part social history, it is drawn largely from the hundreds of interviews he directed for the Australians at War Film Archive."

James Ley is intrigued with The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser: "With considerable aplomb her previous novel, The Hamilton Case, appropriated the literary conventions of both an English murder mystery and magic realism, seeing in the collision of incongruous styles -- one very proper and rational, the other fanciful and lushly descriptive -- a reflection of the cultural tensions in 1930s Ceylon...De Kretser's sharp-witted new novel, The Lost Dog, retains an interest in the cross-cultural identities of its characters, but casts its thematic net far wider. It is a book about the hydra of modernity itself, although its narrative is simple and, in some respects, earthy...The Lost Dog is possessed of considerable though understated depth of feeling...It is a wonderfully written novel that is often funny, but, despite its sharp critical intelligence, it is not at all cynical."

The Australian

"The Australian" has been posting its book reviews to its website quite often over the past few months. The problem has always been that they are hard to find: not linked to via the main books page and only found via their search facility. But this week...well, if they're there I can't find them.

Mary Rose Liverani on Burning In by Mireille Juchau: "This novel is Juchau's second. With her first, Machines for Feeling, it suggests she has an ongoing interest in alienation and disconnection...The photographic mindset and methodology incorporated into her novel is bound to make Burning In a talking point at writers festivals, especially since her prose is charged with an effortless flow of powerful, poetic imagery and her crafting of complex shifts in time, place and consciousness meticulous."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 5, 2007 9:56 PM.

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