Christopher Kremmer: The Chase

Tale of the turf

Don Anderson


The Chase
by Christopher Kremmer
Picador, $32.99 pb, 400 pp, 9781405039932


Australians are suckers for a day at the races, and may be suckers for novels and poems about a day at the races. Consider Gerald Murnane’s metaphysics of racing, Peter Temple’s grim Melbourne in which stresses are relieved by a bottle of Bolly or some such beverage after a successful day at the track. The term ‘Turf’ is granted three-and-a-half columns in the 1985 edition of the Oxford Companion to Australian Literature. Frank Hardy and Dal Stivens, ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Vincent Buckley, are cited as having ambivalent relations with the ‘sport of kings’. Adam Lindsay Gordon was a champion steeplechase jockey, and, ‘despite the attacks of A.D. Hope and others, including Joseph Furphy, Henry Lawson, and Patrick White, many Australian writers have had a personal commitment to the turf’. The Australian Jockey Club has returned the compliment: at its annual Expressway Stakes meeting, minor races are named after Australian poets, including Dorothea Mackellar and Mary Gilmore.

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Don Anderson

Don Anderson is the author/editor of eight books, collections of essays and reviews, and anthologies of prose, largely of texts from the Americas, Australia, and Europe. For fourteen years in the 1980s and 1990s he was a regular literary columnist in the National Times and the Sydney Morning Herald. He was for thirty years a member of the English department at the University of Sydney, where he taught American, Irish, and Australian literature, and literary theory. He was for some years a member of the Advisory Panel of ABR.

Published in September 2011 no. 334

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