Georgia Savage

This book is the best thing that’s happened to me since J.D. Salinger covered his typewriter, or went to Mars or whatever it was that happened to him. It’s a book to put in your satchel and take everywhere, so that in times of stress, you can take it out, read a chapter and feel your heart lift. In fact, it’s really too good for me to write about, but I don’t suppose the editor would be amused by a silent tribute.

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It would not be unreasonable, given the title and the cover (saffron-tinted, showing a vaguely Buddha-like image overlaid with helicopter gunships) to expect Ceremony at Lang Nho to be about Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Well, we all know about judging books by their covers, don’t we? The image is no Buddha, but an elaborate twelfth-century European beehive, and the helicopter gunships are themselves overlaid by little golden bees. And the true battleground of this novel is not Vietnam but the family and the individual psyche.

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North of the Moonlight Sonata by Kerryn Goldsworthy & The House Tibet by Georgia Savage

by
November 1989, no. 116

In the title story of Kerryn Goldsworthy’s impressive first collection, a man and a woman are travelling inland from the city towards the point where main roads give way to obscure tracks. Their relationship is failing, though they have yet to admit this to each other.

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Perhaps because of the coloured marquee with elm leaves pressed against the top like alien faces watching, Writers’ Week had a slightly theatrical air which added to the pleasure. All kinds of people were there, in all kinds of clothes, so that one was torn between wanting to watch the crowd and to listen to the speakers. The marquee seats three hundred people – it was always full, and the organisers estimated that on each day, another two hundred stood outside to listen.

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