A Classic Year: 2.2 Such is Life by Tom Collins

I'll admit I was a bit over the top the other day, comparing Tom Collins in Such is Life with John Fowles and The French Lieutenant's Woman. Put it down to over-exuberance.

There's a lot to admire about the author's framing mechanism here: he originally intends to extract a week's worth of diary entries until the checks the second day and finds it won't fit his purposes, so he changes tack and decides to pick the same day in subsequent months instead. He follows that schema until the last chapter, when it changes it yet again. There's no pretention about it. And he's quite happy for you to see the gears moving and the grease being applied. For what is, surprisingly, a debut novel, this is a most assured technique. It could have fallen flat on its face, it could have ruined the rest of the novel, but it doesn't. It's a pity that Furphy only wrote one further novel, he was certainly a formidable talent.

The next four works in this Classic Year:
"The Sick Stockrider" by Adam Lindsay Gordon (1869)
His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke (1872)
"The Chosen Vessel" by Barbara Baynton (1896)
"The Man from Snowy River" by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson (1890)

Two poems, a novel and a short story.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 17, 2008 3:07 PM.

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