Filed under fiction

Who Makes a Revolution?

Here’s another excerpt from graham Swift’s Waterland, an exchange between a history teacher and a pupil who believes the subject is a waste. “How would nostalgia make these hungry workers go on the rampage then?’ ‘I’m glad you asked that, Price…  – sociologically speaking. because it raises the question of how you define a revolution, … Continue reading

Progress, Civilisation and Land Reclaimation

This is an extended piece from Graham Swift’s brilliant book, Waterland: Who will inherit the world… When the children of the French Revolution threw off their tyrannical father Luis XVI and their wicked step-mother Marie Antoinette (who, as it turned out, were only  like figures in a puppet show, you could pull of their heads just … Continue reading

Stories That Make Us Feel Less Alone

Last night Gideon Coe had an interview with a really unusual  artist, Willy Vlautin of the band Richmond Fontain, an alt folk group known for the strong lyrics he writes. Here is their We Used to Think the Freeway sounded like a river:   But he has also published four novels and numerous short stories, … Continue reading

Sybylla and Swagmen

The fortunes of Sybylla, the narrator of My Brilliant Career, by Miles Franklin, changes when she is sent to stay with her wealthy grandmother on a large farm. Here she describes her dealings with swagmen, or tramps, who travel the country in search of work. The ‘swaggies’ are one of the great images of Australia, … Continue reading

A Victorian Girl’s Lament

This is from a classic of Australian Literature, My Brilliant Career, by Miles Franklin: SELF ANALYSIS N.B. – This is dull and egotistical. Better skip it. That’s my advice. – S.P.M. As a tiny child I was filled with dreams of the great things I was to do when grown up. My ambition was as … Continue reading

Cross Hands

Scattered around England are pubs called the Cross Hands, and sometimes Cross Keys,  titles that make no sense whatsoever, though some at least seem to be at crossroads, so partly explains the title. Much of this misinformation is due to the long disruption of the English Civil War, which put an end to much accurate … Continue reading

A Dog Being A Dog

This is from a book we studied in High School, The Mango Tree by Ronald McKie, and I keep going back to it, as it is really a great piece of writing. It is a coming of age story in North Queensland in the early 20th century. This is the story of a rather unloveable … Continue reading

Forty Shades of Blue

No, this is not a rip off of a certain best seller,but a film that came out in 2005, and deserves to be better known. It is a slow moving – almost chlostrophobic – story about a young Russian woman who marries a wealthy American record producer much older than her, and his estranged son. … Continue reading

Top Must Reads

I’ve never been fond of ‘best of’ lists as art is always partly subjective and even for the same person, can change drastically over time, but this list from the late 19th century is interesting due to the type of books included – some I’ve never heard of, some don’t deserve such praise, and there … Continue reading