Something happened to the Australian suburban novel while Georgia Blain was trying her hand at memoir in Births Deaths Marriages (2008) and Young Adult fiction in Darkwater (2010). Put it down to The Slap juggernaut. The working family is now angry, high, horny, and mad about tattoos. Gone are the scenes of inarticulate loss at the kitchen table or transitory escape among the drying sheets, told in recherché prose. Where there was once self-immolating resignation, there is now full-blown resentment. The pit bulls of racism, sexism, and class conflict have leapt the back fence. Get cut off by an Asian taxi driver: pop a vein. See some young girls at the beach: cue pornographic daydream. Visit a friend with a Danish sofa: apply her face creams in the bathroom.
Melinda Harvey reviews 'Too Close to Home' by Georgia Blain
Too Close to Home
by Georgia Blain
Vintage, $32.95 pb, 304 pp, 9781864711776
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Melinda Harvey is a Melbourne-based book critic. Her writing has appeared in many publications, including Australian Book Review, the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Literary Review, and the Canberra Times. She has a PhD in English from the University of Sydney and has lectured on literature there and also at ANU, RMIT, Monash University, and the European College of Liberal Arts, Berlin. These experiences have provided much fodder for a campus novel that she hopes to write by the time she’s seventy-one (and she thanks Mary Wesley for this kindly benchmark).
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