Weekend Round-Up 2007 #42

The Age

Thuy On looks at the annual offering from Black Inc., The Best Australian Stories 2007: "Now in its ninth year, the latest in the series contains 47 stories within its Kermit-green exterior and Robert Drewe is once again at the helm. In his introduction Drewe opines that in order to seek diversity of form and content he's 'cast the widest possible net'...Hence there are stories from well-established authors (David Malouf, Frank Moorhouse, Roger McDonald, Carmel Bird and other usual suspects) as well as from a younger and aspiring generation of writers. The crisp, virgin voices are placed democratically alongside more mature, reputable ones, with about half of Drewe's total selection coming from household literary names." He concludes it's a worthy addition to the series.

Given the size of the country in which they live, and the lack of humanity within it, Australians have a peculiar relationship to wide open spaces. One aspect of that relationship is explored in The Ways of the Bushwalker: On Foot in Australia by Melissa Harper, which is reviewed by Amanda Lohrey. "Almost any ill can be assuaged by a period of going bush. This might mean packing the dog and the gun into the back of the ute, but more likely it will involve the virtuous exertions of the foot-slogger, bent on a return to Eden that can offer some respite, however brief, from the rat-traps of the social...This is a marvellous book -- the chapter on the four-wheel drive phenomenon alone is worth the price -- and beautifully produced by the University of New South Wales Press with a number of illustrations...With clarity and wit [Harper] takes us on an armchair trek, showing how, with each decade, the debates have intensified until, with global warming, the arguments of the bushwalking priesthood have taken on a new dimension."

The Australian

Marele Day finds that Captain Cook: Voyager Between Worlds by John Gascoigne "...is not so much a biography as a scholarly examination of British and Pacific cultures during the latter part of the 18th century, the one poised on the brink of the industrial Revoluton, which would also affect the other." And, in probably a miscalculation on Cook's behalf: "This voyager between worlds understood how the unexpected arrival of a ship full of men may be interpreted: 'In what light can they ar first look upon us but as invaders of their coutry; time and some acquaintance with us can only convince them of their mistake.'" Just because it was inevitable doesn't make it easier to swallow.

Kevin Rabalais has some early problems with The Fern Tattoo by David Brooks: "The novel proceeds slowly, with meandering sentences -- at times needlessly long, for Brooks tends to reiterate -- and minimal dialogue. His prose demands patience and aspires to a lyrical quality that it often fails to achieve. While rhythmic, his sentences are laden with the kinds of inessentials, most notably a plethora of adverbs, that weaken the narrative's authority." Which all seems alittle harsh. However, the reviewer does conclude that "Brooks has give us an ambitious novel about how stories outlive and form us."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 12, 2007 9:53 PM.

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