My Blue-checker Corker and Me
Allen & Unwin. 166 p., $11.95
My Blue-Checker Corker and Me probably has enough strengths to make one forget, eventually, most of its irritating features. Paul Radley’s story of ‘a small mellow world’ is unashamedly emotional. and Radley is clearly fascinated with the possibilities of language. This is the story of a twelve-year-old boy and his relationship with his grandfather, his mates and his pigeons.
Not surprisingly there is lots of small boy talk. ‘Bullshit. I got friends. Lots of them. Right here in fucking Boomeroo. More friends than you could whack your dick at.’ This passage can illustrate three elements that I found very irritating about the novel. Little boys saying ‘fuck’ become very boring. So do novelists. Radley is also relentlessly and unironically Australian. The place names become a parody. Worse than these two qualities is the naive and aggressive masculinity of the novel.