Weekend Round-Up 2008 #4

A day late - put it down to real-life intruding, work and family.

The Age

Henry Reynolds, Chair of History and aboriginal Studies at the University of Tasmania reviews Van Dieman's Land by James Boyce which "... is a fresh and sparkling account of the first generation of British settlement in Tasmania that also makes an important contribution to Australian colonial historiography. The product of seven years' research and writing, and a longer time talking about and walking across the island, it focuses attention and admiration on the convicts and their children -- Tasmania's founding mothers and fathers...[Boyce] argues cogently that there needs to be two quite different narratives about the original colonisation of Eastern Australia, explaining that 'how the early British settlers of Van Diemen's Land experienced the Australian continent is thus greatly at variance with the standard opening of the national story'. The Van Diemonian convict settlers were, indeed, Australia's first successful hunters, pastoralists and colonisers of the bush, which, with its abundant wildlife and fresh water, provided the convicts with a vast common there they could escape the constraints of life under the surveillance of police and soldiers a generation before Russel Ward's nomad tribe traversed the outback of New South Wales...Boyce is unashamedly an island patriot who celebrates those aspects of the past that were long shunned as being part of the hated stain of convictism."

The Australian

Christopher Bantick on Gathering Storm by Rosie Dub: "In recent years, female writers have increasingly ventured into the outback in their fiction. Where once the red dust and diesel fumes may have been the province of men in blue singlets discovering their manhood -- if not representing hackneyed and stereotypical images of the dinkum Aussie bloke -- recent novels by women have shown the outback to be subtle as well as terrifying...Dub's longish novel is a bit of a Heart of Darkness-Apocalypse Now tale. It is part thriller, part hippie road story and part rite-of-passage trip in search of identity. Above all it is a compelling, stylish and well-paced read."

Graeme Blundell on Murder on the Apricot Coast by Marion Halligan: "There's an Alexander McCall kind of literary campiness here, a self-conscious sense of simplicity, euphony and precision, and a grave humorous directness in Halligan's sparkling prose. This can be refreshing and charming, but sometimes makes Cassandra irritating...It's the kind of writing that can have you quickly disliking the sheer confronting smugness of some people. But it is good writing."

Susan Kurosawa on The Dressmaker's Daughter by Kate Llewellyn: "Without recourse to a rich and wordy assembly of the past, Kate Llewellyn could hardly have recorded such a vibrant memoir of her girlhood, early married life and tentative first steps as a published poet...It is the illumination of place and era that makes for such an absorbing read. I will long retain an image of Llewellyn and her fellow trainee nurses at Royal Adelaide Hospital shedding their white starched ice-cream cone hats and stiff uniforms for ball gowns, laid out on their beds, ironed and ready, 'purple, green, pink, gold and white, like dead parrots'."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 21, 2008 4:48 PM.

Alex Miller Profile was the previous entry in this blog.

A Classic Year: 7.0 "Nationality" by Mary Gilmore is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en