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Talents Hardly Extravagant

by
March 1981, no. 28

An Extravagant Talent by Martin Mahon

Hyland House, $9.95, 282 pp

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

Stigmata by Bill Reed

Hyland House, $15.00, $9.95 pb 213 pp

Talents Hardly Extravagant

by
March 1981, no. 28

The slump, it seems, has hit at last, the slump occasioned by the competition of television, films and the theatre have felt it for some time, but here it is being registered in literature. In its own way each of these three books represents an attempt to capture the popular imagination.

An Extravagant Talent can be compared to the blockbuster film using the novelistic equivalent of the wide screen and stereophonic sound to out-Hollywood Hollywood. It boasts an all-star cast of clichés: a handsome and youthful hero who is discovered to be an artistic genius at the age of seventeen, and an American millionaire who adopts him, a lovely and lonely French girl in the clutches of a brutal guardian wandering ripe for the rescuing on a deserted beach, art dealers, South African mining executives, smoothly sophisticated, eternally faithful black servants, seductive whores and the poor but proud, beautiful but faithful girl who is our hero’s reward in the end. If you happen to like this kind of thing and can take bland acceptance of apartheid, sexism, a brutal and mindless hedonism that seems little more than a series of hangovers, and big business making and breaking people as well as fortunes, then this is your book and you can even have a token tribute to more decent values at the end – at no extra cost. Like the blockbuster film it is all skilfully done but, personally, I would like to think that there is more to fiction than thrills and titivation.

Veronica Brady reviews 'An Extravagant Talent' by Martin Mahon, 'Stigmata' by Bill Reed and 'A Bridge Over the Yarra' by Tom Luscombe

An Extravagant Talent

by Martin Mahon

Hyland House, $9.95, 282 pp

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

Stigmata

by Bill Reed

Hyland House, $15.00, $9.95 pb 213 pp

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