"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
Posts tagged "Australia"
Gall and barefaced daring

Gall and barefaced daring

I was well into my forties when I came upon Barbara Baynton’s story ‘The Chosen Vessel’, and I have never got over it. It is shocking, and dreadful: a lone woman huddles with a tiny baby in an undefendable bush house at night, while a tramp armed with a knife slinks around it in the...
The chosen vessel

The chosen vessel

She laid the stick and her baby on the grass while she untied the rope that tethered the calf. The length of the rope separated them. The cow was near the calf, and both were lying down. Feed along the creek was plentiful, and every day she found a fresh place to tether it, since...
A biblical paradise

A biblical paradise

An impish dog playing tricks on his mistress brings about a meeting that will change the life of a monarch. Or so goes the story in Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader, where a corgi-chasing Elizabeth II runs into a travelling library. The rest is a journey into a world of enchantment, discipline, determination, revelation. What...
Curious about curiosity

Curious about curiosity

Adventurous forgetting is common with scholars. The urge to move beyond the page estranges us from the work. We chase the next illuminating ‘maybe’, losing sight of the words we began with. The problem is not iconoclastic interpretation; not disorienting or disturbing responses – this is all the stuff of creative reading. “There is a...
Reality check

Reality check

She registered his shadow, a passing cloud bringing inclement weather. “Clare?” She was not even sure she heard her name, but she watched his mouth form the shape. The stereo was turned up loud, his voice lost in drums and double bass. He ducked his face to hers, kissed her on the forehead, then crossed...
A memory of memory

A memory of memory

Memory is our own unreliable narrator. It forgets things that matter and recalls other events that never happened. It can slip away like receding mist or haunt us in a perennial nightmare. To the extent that they track selves through time, all novels are about memory. But some are more concerned with the notion than...
In service of the voice

In service of the voice

Tim Baker’s debut novel, the much-discussed thriller Fever City, follows the desperate efforts of a disgraced ex-cop and a ruthless mob hitman to rescue the kidnapped son of America’s richest man. But the two men soon become ensnared by a sinister cabal intent on seizing power by killing President Kennedy. Where are you now? At...
Marjorie Barnard: ‘The Persimmon Tree’

Marjorie Barnard: ‘The Persimmon Tree’

I have so many favourite stories! As I wander through them in my mind, the styles are so different, but each one has me excited me in some way. Sometimes it is perception, seeing beyond the familiar or the surface of things; sometimes it is the use of language; sometimes it is empathetic characterisation; sometimes...
Christos Tsiolkas: Privilege and shame

Christos Tsiolkas: Privilege and shame

Christos Tsolkias’s follow-up to the international bestseller The Slap tells the story of a boy swimmer named Daniel Kelly who comes so close to glory then spirals into unbridled aggression and self-hatred. Where The Slap saw a single act of violence and its repercussions witnessed from eight distinct viewpoints in individual chapters, Barracuda opens with...
The tiger who came to stay

The tiger who came to stay

The main character of my first novel, The Night Guest, is a seventy-five-year-old woman named Ruth. People often ask me how it was that I came to write a book about an elderly woman. I assume they ask this because I’m not elderly; this leap of imagination, from young to old, seems particularly hard to...