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Ihab Hassan

The question is probably all wrong. How can an American – well, an Egyptian-born American, if hyphenate we must – pronounce life on Australia? I came to the Antipodes late in my life, drawn to the Pacific, that great wink of eternity, Melville called it, drawn to horizons more than to origins. I made friends and became in Australia a wintry celebrant.

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This collection is well named: dreams drive its narratives. Dreams or something like dreams – ghosts, memories, shadowy gleams. We are always close to the ‘mystery of suspended expectation’, as Malouf puts it in the title story, but never quite penetrate it. In dreams, you might say, begin responsibilities – that’s Yeats – and yes, flashes of knowledge, obscure reconciliations.

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