Storytelling in all its forms is one way of having something curious, strange, and comforting to say to others and ourselves when we are faced with the malaise of the real.... (read more)
In his ‘Diary’ in the March 2007 issue of ABR, Chris Wallace-Crabbe tells us that he’s been reading Ulysses and War and Peace (‘alternately’) as he travels to Oxford. Then, out of the blue, he adds: ‘Meanwhile, Ken Gelder has written the most appalling attack on literature, and especially on the concept of style, in the latest Overland. His anti-aesthetic position is, of course, indistinguishable from that of John Howard and the right-wing philistines. It has been so for a long time: the right and the far-left in materialist cahoots.’ My Overland essay was a criticism of Tory literary tastes and positions in Australia, including the disdain some writers have for readerships. Only a blinkered literary snob could construe this as an ‘attack on literature’. I found Wallace-Crabbe’s insulting remarks utterly perplexing. For example, what does he mean by ‘the concept of style’? Whose concept? I have no idea. What does he mean by ‘anti-aesthetic’? The term used to be used by postmodernists, but he also attributes it to John Howard – a point which seems to fly in the face of reality.... (read more)
Dark Palace by Frank Moorhouse by Frank Moorhouse
Publishers are like invisible ink. Their imprint is in the mysterious appearance of books on shelves. This explains their obsession with crime novels.
To some authors they appear as good fairies, to others the Brothers Grimm. Publishers can be blamed for pages that fall out (Look ma, a self-exploding paperback!), for a book’s non-appearance at a country town called Ulmere. For appearing too early or too late for review. For a book being reviewed badly, and thus its non-appearance – in shops, newspapers and prized shortlistings.
As an author, it’s good therapy to blame someone and there’s nothing more cleansing than to blame a publisher. I know, because I’ve done it myself. A literary absolution feels good the whole day through.... (read more)