Murray Bail Interview

Was it just me or did Murray Bail's new novel, The Pages, not receive the attention it was probably due? Maybe the timing of the release was poor, given this seems to be award season: Man Booker, Victorian Premier's, Prime Minister's, Queensland Premier's, Age Book of the Year. Anyway, the "Entertainment" weblog, from "The Sydney Morning Herald", interviews the author about the new book.

"It's an awful era in a sense because it's the age of narcissism. It's probably worse than global warming," says Murray Bail, leaning over his macchiato with theatrical gloom.

"It must have something to do with the flood through every part of society of popular culture, of film, photography, television and performance. All this 'look at me' stuff. People don't read as much, they can't write; you get film stars giving their views on everything. It's quite serious but nothing can be done about it. As soon as you complain you look like an antique."


Ten years sounds a long time between books but Bail has not been idle.

"This seems to be a ghastly pattern: I started another novel and spent 18 months, maybe two years on it, then I put it aside. It's not to say I won't go back to it. It was nothing but a man and woman talking and I thought, aside from the difficulty, I was sick of men and women talking anyway but there had to be more underneath. The same thing happened with Eucalyptus. I spent a couple of years mucking around with a book that I wasn't comfortable with. I chucked that one out."

The aborted film adaptation of Eucalyptus - which was to feature Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman - is also mentioned. And that reminds me that I have read reports that Kidman is interested in this new novel. Well, she is reported to have met the author a few times. Which might be as much about the previous as The Pages.

And just before you start thinking I trawl the "Actress Archives" on a regular basis looking for snippets like this, it was the Murray Bail reference that brought it to my attention.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 20, 2008 9:01 AM.

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