Tasmania bags a Booker

132.Richard Flanagan-The Narrow Road To The Deep North coverYou would think Tasmania’s great writer was front page news on my favourite daily, but barely, Haines decision to try out for NFL was  front and back cover on today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Sure, Richard Flanagan had a nice page 14/15 spread pointed to from the lowest ranked heading below Haines, but who makes these calls? Seriously. Flanagan’s gong is an internationally major achievement, not because he won the Booker but because the prize was an opportunity for a bunch of literati to call it a bloody masterpiece in a competition that is fiercer than ever. I’m a tepid footy fan and Parramatta is my team and  like so many others I’ve admired Haines. His achievements have rightly been celebrated. That’s the immediate past. By SMH putting him up ahead of Flanagan (and that’s how I see it) is to skip the present and say that ambition (future) is more important than actually scoring the goal now. New age nonsense to me. Besides, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is an Australian story the like of which no hero can match by playing footy.

Peter Carey, the Australian who lives in America

AmnesiaP.CareyI don’t subscribe to the on-line Australian and the article I wanted to post in FB  by Stephen Romei interviewing Carey (Oct 4-5, 2014)  is for “subscribers only”. So back to the dark ages for a few typed out quotes from a print broadsheet:

“Australia is my lens, I cannot see the world any other way..”

(Referring to his book Parrot and Olivier in America, 2010:
“That book is of course about America – but it’s seen from the outside, from looking in and wondering why it’s so weird. I know an American couldn’t have written it, and I don’t think a French person could have written it. It’s an Australian book.”

Regarding whether non-Australians will recognise the historical characters in his latest novel Amnesia about hacking and the relationship between America and Australia, which references Pine Gap and the Whitlam dismissal:
“.. if you’re reading 19th century fiction then it wasn’t written for you. Yet we read it happily enough. I think if a novel has some sort of integrity and has a story and characters, people will deal with all of that stuff. When I wrote the Kelly Gang my friends in Australia were staggered by the idea that anyone outside the country would be the tiniest bit interested…”

And my favourite quote about British or American authors  not making their texts easier for foreign readers:
“I mean, we didn’t know what a levee is, but we found out. They took the Chevy to the levee and they didn’t give us footnotes, and we didn’t want them; we were ok.”

The Penguin website can give you information about Amnesia.