A few years ago I was teaching an anthology of Australian short stories to a group of very bright Spanish honours students at the University of Barcelona. As one would expect, some of the stories were written by Australia’s most famous and highly regarded writers but at the end of the course the students voted unanimously for Serge Liberman’s ‘Envy’s Fire’ as the finest story they had read on the course.
Serge Liberman is that unfashionable thing, a committed writer. Not committed to a party-line, of course, but to a literature of engagement with humanity. A parable that seems to illustrate his view of the artist’s role is provided by a story entitled ‘The Poet Walks Along High Street’. The poet, Gabriel Singer, walks along a street pointed towards ‘Erehwon Creek’, peopled by allegorically named figures.