Few writers, it could be argued, have ever cannibalised life for their art as ruthlessly and consistently as did Martin Boyd; and few are born into situations which lend themselves so readily to art. Boyd’s working life – indeed, much of his entire existence – was spent trying to unite the past with the present, the old world with the new, himself with the man he might have been; and in committing his efforts to paper. To this end, he never shirked from using friends and relatives as material for his novels, as well as the real-life experiences of himself and of others. If he paid a price for this – which he occasionally did, for people often hanker to be preserved in print, only to resent the style of preservation – the consequences gave him little pause. By the time he wrote A Difficult Young Man, focusing the cool spotlight of his attention on his brother Merric as well as more sharply on himself, Boyd had form as a writer whose true gift lay not in the power of his imagination, but in the brilliance of his ancestral inheritance.
- Art of Fiction
- Teaching Aids
- Sonya Hartnett
- Martin Boyd
- Essays and Commentary
- Australian Fiction
Sonya Hartnett is the author of eighteen novels, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize-winning Of A Boy (2000), and Thursday's Child (2002). In 2010 Hartnett published her début picture book, The Boy and the Toy, and her latest novel for younger readers, The Midnight Zoo. She lives in Melbourne.
From the New Issue
Paul Kelly: The man, the music and the life in-between by Stuart CoupeReviewed by Kerryn Goldsworthy
A Place for Everything: The curious history of alphabetical order by Judith FlandersReviewed by Andrew Connor
Mysteries of Cinema: Reflections on film theory, history and culture by Adrian MartinReviewed by Nicholas Bugeja