After the Celebration: Australian Fiction 1989–2007
MUP, $29.99 pb, 292 pp
Twenty years after the publication of their ‘inclusive Australian literary history’, The New Diversity: Australian Fiction 1970–1988, Ken Gelder and Paul Salzman have returned with a ‘sequel’, After the Celebration: Australian Fiction 1989–2007. One leaden title succeeds another, although the tone of the second book is angrier. More of that later. As the authors note in their preface, The New Diversity was published by McPhee Gribble, an independent outfit that would largely be subsumed by Penguin in 1989, the year in which that book appeared. This observation prepares for the consistently impressive aspect of After the Celebration: its detailed, incisive, intelligently informed account of the changes in the circumstances of publishing, and especially fiction publishing, in Australia during the last two decades. One might take counsels of hope or despair from their analysis (particularly if one were a novelist), but still be grateful for it.