The Blackburns: Private lives, public ambition by Carolyn Rasmussen
by Reg Grundy
Pier 9, $45 hb, 368 pp, 9781742660349
‘All I ever wanted to do was to entertain,’ declares Reg Grundy. Like most such apparently simple statements, this needs a bit of unpacking, and that’s w ...
Kenneth Cook was always a little surprised by the success of Wake in Fright. He dismissed it as a young man’s novel, as indeed it was; he published it in 1961, when he was thirty-two. Among his sixteen other works of fiction he was prouder of Tuna (1967), a partial reimagining of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea set off the coast of South Australia, and The Man Underground (1977), which dealt with opal mining. Perhaps he preferred them because he had enjoyed the research involved. It is true that both are better crafted, more assured, than the novel that made his name. But he could never quite accept that Wake in Fright delineated grim truths about the bush and its inhabitants that his other novels do not capture.... (read more)