Brandl & Schlesinger, $29.95 pb, 309 pp
Rhyll McMaster established her considerable reputation as a poet in the 1970s and 1980s. Feather Man is her début novel. In a first-person narrative, the protagonist recounts her life story from the time when she was a child living in suburban Brisbane in the 1950s until her emergence as a painter in London in the 1970s. It is a Kunstleroman divided into four parts, each named for a significant male character who shapes her relationship to art. The narrator’s name is withheld until near the end, when we learn that, somewhat ambiguously, her classically educated father named her ‘Lyce’, from Horace’s Odes on Love.