Reviews of Australian Books #91

In "The Age", Michael McGirr: "Arnold Zable's exquisite new novel, Sea of Many Returns, charts more recent comings and goings from Ithaca. Zable's fiction has often found disquieting resonances between physical and emotional space. Here, once again, he embraces restless and heartsore characters, people whose deep longings are sketched with a few reverent gestures...Zable has a remarkable gift for this. He holds pain with unsettling gentleness. His prose is such good company that you accept its honesty."

In "The Sydney Morning Herald", John Huxley on The Pages by Murray Bail: "Though short and sharp, it is as refreshing as its predecessors and arguably more far-reaching in its range of big ideas, probing the fitful engagement not just between men and women, brothers and sisters, Sydney and the bush, Australia and the wider world, but between thinking and doing...Interspersed in a narrative that is part romance, part mystery, part domestic comedy, part intellectual road trip, part personal diary, are interludes; pauses for reflection, for observation and instruction, that are educational and entertaining. The tone is witty, conversational, provocatively commonplace."

And in the same newspaper, Jennifer Moran on The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper which "...explores many themes -- the uneasy relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, the legacy of our cruel history, the poverty and problems that beset many remote Aboriginal communities, the unequal application of justice -- but at its heart is a compelling human story in which hasty passion and terrible chance propelled one man to defend his character and his profession and the other to a painful, untimely death."

In "The Courier-Mail", Cheryl Jorgensen on Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne: "Despite an illustrious career, it was the notorious mutiny on The Bounty which, until now, seems to have marred William Bligh's reputation. He has been portrayed in popular fiction as a tyrant. What [Boyne] has created is no academic tome, but a stirring story of high adventure.It is a great yarn and it finally gives us a truer picture of Bligh...This is not to say that Bligh has been eulogised in this book. Boyne portrays him as a humane man whose judgment is not always perfect but whose high moral character and his consideration for his crew, ironically contributes to his downfall."

In "The Australian", Nigel Krauth also looks at the new Bail novel: "The Pages, Bail's first novel in 10 years (after Eucalyptus), focuses on realms beyond the visual: philosophy and psychoanalysis...The Pages extends the ideas of Eucalyptus. It's about men and women who fail to categorise existence satisfactorily. Actually, I like this novel better. It's mature, not as forced; it chooses a patch and works it simply, confidently. "

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 21, 2008 9:25 AM.

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