One Crowded Hour: Neil Davis, Combat Cameraman, 1934-1985
Imprint, $14.95 pb, 436 pp
If your interest in Australian literature predates its current flavour-of-the-month status, no doubt there exists, somewhere in your dinner-party repertoire, a screechingly funny reminiscence from the long ago, that winds up with some pompous professor of literature, or some arrogant publishing mogul, delivering the punchline, ‘Australian literature? Guffaw guffaw. I didn’t know there was any’.
Perhaps you were among the few, way back in the early 1970s, who had discovered the exciting new work then beginning to appear from youngsters like Frank Moorhouse, Peter Carey, and Murray Bail. If you were reading widely enough, particularly among contemporary fiction writers, you would have twigged that here was a bunch of writers producing important work that was breaking new ground – and not just in local terms. If you were one of those who went about the place exhorting, cajoling, and bullying people into reading these new Australian writers, one thing’s for sure – you don’t look so silly now.