Category: Literary Review
A love-hate letter to David Foster Wallace
“You, not something like you, but you, are one of the voices inside my head, and having read you so young, I don’t know whether it’s mine or yours. But you know what, David? I don’t like that voice very much. It’s usually more trouble than it’s worth. You aren’t one of the good voices.”
May the days be aimless
There is a rhythm in this novel. Not a rhythm to its prose, that’s an analogy you’ve probably heard a lot, but to the entire piece of work. Beneath every piece of music lies a beat. Not the beat played by the instruments, I mean beneath even that. Beneath the beat is the original beat.…
The Loneliness of the Author – The Book of the New Sun
Literature is unique as an art form in that it relies entirely upon a human construct to express an idea: language. The nature of language and the challenge it presents to artistic expression are what make Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun so impressive.
Kurt Vonnegut and the totalitarian mind
Mother Night is not just for those in for a grim laugh. By focusing on an ordinary man who struggles every day with whether what he has done was excused, Vonnegut is able to makes a rather uncomical argument about the nature of good and evil in the world.
Ah the serenity – Home in Australian fiction
It’s no surprise narratives like this can be found throughout Australian literature, but I was taken aback by just how similar these three stories are. They represent a de-landing myth in Australian culture, a repeating plot of threat to home that I’m sure could be found elsewhere too. Frankly, what surprised me most was that…
Dersu Uzala: The Human Cost of Empire
Comparing the warmth of a friendship with the tragedy of death, Dersu showcases the human cost of empire. The film argues that imperialism has impacts so large that they are unable to be controlled by the very actors undertaking them. By exploring the impact of the imperial project on just one relationship, between Dersu and…
What we can learn from The Last Free Man in the midst of a pandemic
For many of us living in self-isolation, the experience has been one of incredible loneliness, which is dramatically different to the potential for isolation to be freeing and satisfying as presented by Woolston in many of his works. It seems that isolation itself does not bring freedom, but is rather a short-cut to liberation provided…
The Grapes of Wrath and fear in fiction
The trip to California could be any struggle, any Sisyphus’ rock, but the Grapes of Wrath makes the argument that in such dire straits people will endeavour to retain their dignity, that they will be adaptable in the face of struggle and retain what makes them human.
Same old same old? Reading Flannery O’Connor
My very long time thinking about God and nihilism, while for sure, enhancing my enjoyment and understanding of the story, had another impact. It led me to be, dare I say it, a touch bored by the whole thing.
Reading Gravity’s Rainbow
I have absolutely no idea what to say about this wonderful book, but I am going to try. I picked up Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, one of those monsters some call a ‘magnum opus’, off the internet three months ago. I’ll be totally candid, I’d been told it was hard to read, but interesting,…