Reviews of Australian Books #80

kimbofo is very taken with Richard Flanagan's novel The Sound of One Hand Clapping giving it a five-star review: this "is a book about new beginnings that shatters the myth of Australia as the 'lucky country'. It does not shy away from presenting white Australians as uncouth, uncultured and racist at a period in the country's history at which immigration was running at an all-time high. For that reason alone, it is a refreshing -- and challenging -- read."

Kathryn Crim, in the "San Francisco Chronicle" finds a lot to like about Careless by Deborah Robertson, "who published a collection of short stories, Proudflesh, in 1997, has crafted an intentional style, sometimes austere and unsentimental but often weighted with exaggerated emotion. This flattens the subject Robertson has gone after with rare confidence. In the end, the novel's scope remains too narrowly focused on its themes, and the characters do not grow beyond them...And yet, for a first try, Robertson's effort to tackle both violence and grief is earnest and exceedingly thoughtful."

Peter Temple's Dead Point is reviewed by Peter Mitchell on the "Tonight" website.

A friend whose literary criticism I respect told me last week that he found [Peter] Temple lacking in soul. His hero Jack Irish didn't display the qualities of, say, Robicheaux, the creation of southern American novelist James Lee Burke, whom we both unreservedly admire. With respect, I disagree. I find the flawed Jack Irish -- with his constant struggle to live up to what's right -- extraordinarily sympathetic. When a bag of cash is tipped out on a lonely backstreet solicitor's workdesk, it can't be easy to write out a bill for a mere $120 ... then pick the notes out of the pile of loot. At other times he slips, as we all do, and can be both economical with the truth and distinctly devious. Just as I like his ear for dialogue, which is extraordinary, I relish his characters.
Open File by Peter Corris is given the once-over on the "Strangely Connected" website, and the reviewer things it's time to make an end. "The characters are a bit too close to being caricatures, and the way people and events work out doesn't quite ring true. Perhaps the old flashback to the past approach isn't the way to capture the best of Cliff Hardy, and it seems unlikely that he will ever really be at home in the brave new world of investigation that technology has led us to. So maybe he should just take off into the sunset -- or was this what Peter Corris was trying to do? After all, Cliff Hardy was introduced in The Dying Trade in 1980, and was having trouble with his Falcon even then. Cliff was ex-army, ex-Malaya, and ready for action. The writing, the characters and the sense of place were as good then as they are now. But it also means that Cliff Hardy must be getting on in years, so perhaps he should retire."

And continuing the crime fiction theme we have two reviews of Adrian Hyland's novel Moonlight Downs, which is the US title of his first novel Diamond Dove. Stephen Miller in "January Magazine" has reservations: "Throughout his novel, author Hyland applies layers upon layers of local atmospherics so thick that not one but two glossaries are in the front of this book. Even then, the dialects and colloquialisms are often beyond the reach of all but the most attentive reader. With several chapters that seem to add little to the mystery and provide excessive amounts of travelogue, it's as though Hyland has tried to channel both Tony Hillerman and Bruce Chatwin into the same novel." On the other hand, Peter Rozovsky finds that Hyland "has written a delightful, engaging book that remains true to the venerable amateur-sleuth tradition even as it explores a world that will be new to many Australians, to say nothing of readers on the other side of the world."

Short notices

Elaine Walker on Lamplighter by D.M. Cornish: "Lamplighter is an adventure filled novel full of mystery and suspense with many unexpected twist and turns...I really enjoyed this story as I read the book I felt as if I was part of this new world that Cornish has created. Rossamund is a such a likable character that you can't help but be drawn to him and all that he says and believes."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 2, 2008 8:43 AM.

2008 CBCA Book of the Year Award Shortlists was the previous entry in this blog.

Prime Minister's Literary Awards 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