The Best Australian Essays 2002
Black Inc., $29.95 pb, 398 pp
After only four annual volumes, The Best Australian Essays has reached the point where the law of increasing expectations begins to kick in. By now the series has done so much that we want it to do everything. Speaking as an Australian who lives offshore, I would be well pleased if each volume could contain, on every major issue, a pair of essays best presenting the two most prominent opposing views. This would give me some assurance that I was hearing both sides of the national discussion on each point, despite my being deprived of access to many of the publications in which essays, under one disguise or another, nowadays originate. (I leave aside the probability that most Australians living in Australia are deprived of access, too, the time having long passed when any one person could take in all the relevant print.) But the editor, Peter Craven, could easily point out that my wish is a pipedream.