Underground by Andrew McGahan

Reviewed by
October 2006, no. 285
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Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Underground' by Andrew McGahan

Underground

by Andrew McGahan

Allen & Unwin, $29.95 pb, 320 pp

Buy this book

Underground by Andrew McGahan

Reviewed by
October 2006, no. 285

Several years ago, on two separate occasions, Drusilla Modjeska and David Marr called for Australian fiction writers to address directly the state of the country in its post-9/11 incarnation. ‘I have a simple plea to make,’ said Marr in the Redfern Town Hall in March 2003, delivering the annual Colin Simpson Lecture: ‘that writers start focusing on what is happening in this country, looking Australia in the face, not flinching … So few Australian novels – now I take my life in my hands – address in worldly, adult ways the country and the time in which we live. It’s no good ceding that territory to people like me – to journalists. That’s not good enough.’ Six months before Marr’s lecture, Drusilla Modjeska had published in Timepieces (2002) an essay called ‘The Present in Fiction’, which raised, from a slightly different direction, some of the same issues:

Why are so few people writing novels about the lives we are living right now, here in Australia? Why this retreat of fiction into history, I hear people say, naming one novel after another set in the pre-modern past … too much of our recent fiction has become safe; our novels have lost their urgency, protected by the soft glow of ‘history’.

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Underground' by Andrew McGahan

Underground

by Andrew McGahan

Allen & Unwin, $29.95 pb, 320 pp

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