Weekend Round-Up 2008 #6

The Age

Morag Fraser is impressed with American Journeys by Don Watson. It's not all she wanted, but it will do until Watson's next book comes along. "Flags, kettle corn, cola, Memorial Day in Kansas City and a tenor singing America the Beautiful: satire you think? No. Nothing so easy in Don Watson's introduction to his marvel-filled, 39,000-kilometre American journey. This wry, magpie-sharp observer is almost too alive, too romantic-vulnerable before America's bewildering contradictions, its grandeur, its paradoxes and grotesque inequities. He is also honest and engaging about his own sympathies, about the susceptibilities of a sceptical Australian Presbyterian agnostic abroad in the greatest democracy on earth."

The Australian

Justin Clemens reviews Revolving Days: Selected Poems by David Malouf, and appears to ..., well, you figure it out: "Teetering forever on the verge of disabused revelation, the often surprising readability of many of these lyrics derives from their predominantly iambic rhythms, which are then unpredictably derailed by inversions of beat, by sudden enjambments or changes in pace...Knowingly split between experience, the memory of the experience, the writing and reordering of the memory of the experience, time, place and person are to be reconstructed in all their density and their dislocation. Malouf celebrates the sober carnival of shattered time, with its giddily revolving days, its ever-gathering and dispersing swarms."

Graeme Blundell gets more directly to the point in his consideration of the latest Cliff Hardy novel, Open File by Peter Corris: "These days a weary wisdom travels with hero and author. Hardy's old Falcon has seen many kilometres in the long haul to disprove the one-time assumption of Australian publishers, writers and readers that the hard-boiled mystery field was credible only in American settings. Like his hero Cliff Hardy, Corris just keeps going, , as unimpressed and charmingly nonchalant as his hero. Corris has seen off the new wave and the postmodern, the grant-taking dilettantes, the serial killer story and left the lesbian separatist detectives behind, exasperated by his laconic style."

Sophie Masson realises the pitfalls that await any autobiographical writer, and also realises that for some, such as Georgia Blain with Births, Deaths, Marriages, the time is just right: "...there may well arise a moment in any writer's life when one feels one must set things down, to try and understand one's life, to achieve a kind of reckoning with the past. Georgia Blain's memoir, made up of interlinked autobiographical pieces, has that feeling about it, a sense of a time come. The author of four successful novels, she is acutely aware of those risks, but has attempted in this book to capture the essence of her own lived truth, and that of her family." Does Blain succeed? "Most of the pieces in the book have an honesty and attention to detail which is engaging and disarming, and the best pieces are very powerful indeed".

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 5, 2008 9:16 PM.

Australian Crime Fiction Snapshot: Kerry Greenwood was the previous entry in this blog.

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