Award-winning Western Australian poet Philip Salom is both surprised and delighted by the response to his first novel, Playback. Simon Patton spoke to him recently during a brief visit to Melbourne.
After having read Playback, the story of Jack Biner, a folklorist who visits a small country town to collect oral histories, I could not help feeling that I was re-enacting an episode from the book. Sitting down with Salom with the cassette recorder going, I realised that, like Biner, I was involved in the process of collecting someone else’s words, and that I would inevitably understand them in my own way in order to weave them into a coherent ‘story’. But the irony of the situation provided plenty of stimulus to the conversation