Bob Carr Profile

Bob Carr, long-time premier of New South Wales until he retired in 2005, is profiled in "The Australian" by Rosemary Neill as his new book,
My Reading Life: Adventures in the World of Books, is published.

Carr has little time for most contemporary fiction. Much of it, he writes, "seems trivial, gimmicky, forced". Sipping a flat white, he tells Review: "I can't understand why anyone would want to read from the Booker prize list if they haven't read The Brothers Karamazov or The Illiad or every word of Tolstoy ... I think one chapter of War and Peace is worth everything at the front end of a modern bookshop; every contemporary work of fiction propped up in the window of a modern bookshop."

As if still attuned to how this will play in hard-core Labor electorates, he adds: "People might say that's snobbery." But Carr declares it's those who "look down and dismiss as weird or eccentric any focus on enduring culture, I think they're the snobs". Still, it's odd that someone who took such pleasure in presiding over the NSW Premier's Literary Awards should be so dismissive of modern fiction.

Some of his choices of "best" author in a genre will raise some eyebrows.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 5, 2008 1:30 PM.

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