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Red

Stephen Bann, 5 July 1984

Time in a Red Coat 
by George Mackay Brown.
Chatto, 249 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 7011 2804 6
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Harland’s Half-Acre 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 230 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 7011 2737 6
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The Border 
by Elaine Feinstein.
Hutchinson, 113 pp., £6.95, June 1984, 0 09 156320 8
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... of narrative clarity, which enables Time in a Red Coat to resonate, powerfully, in our minds. David Malouf makes no bones about going to work on his novels as if he were constructing a poem. If I may retranslate a passage from an interview quoted in a French magazine (which shows that his reputation has already spread well beyond the boundaries of ...

Wallahs and Wallabies

Gilbert Phelps, 8 May 1986

12 Edmondstone Street 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 134 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7011 3970 6
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The Shakespeare Wallah 
by Geoffrey Kendal and Clare Colvin.
Sidgwick, 186 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 283 99230 1
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Children of the Country: Coast to Coast across Africa 
by Joseph Hone.
Hamish Hamilton, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 241 11742 9
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... three books, in which the two genres are combined, that label can properly be applied only to David Malouf’s 12 Edmondstone Street. An intimate apprehension of time and place informs the long title essay, which probes into the remembered experience of a child’s association with the house in Brisbane where he was born. As such it is a genuine ...

Ellipticity

C.K. Stead, 10 June 1993

Remembering Babylon 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 200 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 7011 5883 2
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... smells and behaves like a Black, is the screen on which the nature of racism is projected. But Malouf is more deeply concerned with the relation of humankind to the Australian landscape. By becoming ‘aboriginal’, Gemmy has crossed the divide which separates white Australia from the land it occupies. The clergyman, Mr Frazer, has some sense of this. He ...

Hybrid Heroes

Janette Turner Hospital, 12 December 1996

The Conversations at Curlow Creek 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 214 pp., £14.99, September 1996, 0 7011 6571 5
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... characters in this novel, it is nevertheless against the backdrop of his bulky shadow that Malouf’s Carney and his Fergus/Dolan and Adair/O’Dare move, and are, at book’s end, transfigured and assumed into myth. Governor Darling, however, was not disposed to take the romantic view of either bushrangers or the Irish. Indeed, his interpretation of ...

Heritage

Gabriele Annan, 6 March 1997

The Architect of Desire: Beauty and Danger in the Stan ford White Family 
by Suzannah Lessard.
Weidenfeld, 352 pp., £18.99, March 1997, 0 297 81940 2
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... preoccupations and tastes. In her straining after the essence of things, she reminds one of David Malouf and of Bruce Chatwin (who married into her clan). I don’t mean that she copies them: she is too committed, too intense for that; an element of what an American reviewer called ‘self-administered therapy’ convinces one that she is too ...

Ineffectuals

Peter Campbell, 19 April 1990

The World of Nagaraj 
by R.K. Narayan.
Heinemann, 186 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 434 49617 0
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The Great World 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 330 pp., £12.95, April 1990, 0 7011 3415 1
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The Shoe 
by Gordon Legge.
Polygon, 181 pp., £7.95, December 1989, 0 7486 6080 1
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Trying to grow 
by Firdaus Kanga.
Bloomsbury, 242 pp., £13.95, February 1990, 0 7475 0549 7
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... other, and the points at which the need is and is not symmetrical, are at the heart of the plot of David Malouf’s (in two senses) exemplary novel. It answers, in almost Tolstoyan terms, questions about how we should, and do, lead the lives we are given. Returning from the war, from the prison camps on the Burma railway where life was cheap, Digger looks ...

Island Politics

Sylvia Lawson: The return of Australia’s Coalition Government, 12 November 1998

... get less than 50 per cent of the primary vote, the hectic dramas of late-night scrutineering. Like David Malouf, who has spoken of Australian election days as unacknowledged national carnivals, Hardjono enjoys them hugely. Better than most in early October, she also knew that there’s worse than Pauline Hanson. The election, in which the conservative ...

Bullshit and Beyond

Clive James, 18 February 1988

The Road to Botany Bay 
by Paul Carter.
Faber, 384 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 571 14551 5
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The Oxford History of Australia. Vol. IV: 1901-1942 
by Stuart Macintyre.
Oxford, 399 pp., £22.50, October 1987, 0 19 554612 1
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The Archibald Paradox: A Strange Case of Authorship 
by Sylvia Lawson.
Penguin Australia, 292 pp., AUS $12.95, September 1987, 0 14 009848 8
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The Lucky Country Revisited 
by Donald Horne.
Dent, 235 pp., AUS $34.95, October 1987, 9780867700671
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... writing has a lyrical passion in argument that I found irresistible,’ says no less a judge than David Malouf. ‘I couldn’t put it down.’ Malouf being no fool, I am reluctant to suggest that the reason he couldn’t put the book down was that it is so full of hot air it kept springing back up ...

Upstaging

Paul Driver, 19 August 1993

Shining Brow 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 86 pp., £5.99, February 1993, 0 571 16789 6
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... activity; and his most recent full-length opera, Gawain, has an ambitious verse libretto by David Harsent. Ted Hughes once wrote a libretto for Gordon Crosse. The Story of Vasco, whose subject-matter involves crows, is an interesting opera by a composer who has now, regrettably, stopped composing. The poet John Birtwhistle supplied ...

I shall be read

Denis Feeney: Ovid’s Revenge, 17 August 2006

Ovid: The Poems of Exile: ‘Tristia’ and the ‘Black Sea Letters’ 
translated by Peter Green.
California, 451 pp., £12.95, March 2005, 0 520 24260 2
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Ovid: Epistulae ex Ponto, Book I 
translated and edited by Jan Felix Gaertner.
Oxford, 606 pp., £90, October 2005, 0 19 927721 4
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... in exile had attracted the attention of many non-professionals, most strikingly in the novels of David Malouf (An Imaginary Life, 1978) and Christoph Ransmayr (The Last World, 1988). Interest in exile as a subject has reinforced the relentless expansion of modern scholarship into former niche areas, and Ovid’s exile poetry has now become one of ...

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