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Andrew Peek

Andrew Peek taught at the University of Tasmania.

Andrew Peek reviews 'Black Cat, Green Field' by Graeme Harper

May 1988, no. 100 01 May 1988
Set in New South Wales during the turbulent years of 1916–19, Graeme Harper’s Black Cat, Green Field evokes the period with particularity and jaggedness. The first of the novel’s five parts introduces the central character: Sidney Nelson, recently wounded in Gallipoli, and now living in Sydney. A former art student, he is yearningly aware he could instead have been in the Paris of Picasso an ... (read more)

Andrew Peek reviews 'Mates of Mars' by David Foster

June 1990, no. 121 08 August 2022
David Foster has a way with subject matter in his novels. In his dealings with the arcane (The Adventures of Christian Rosy Cross and Rosicrucianism) and the quotidian (the postal protocol of Dog Rock) alike, he has consistently shown the knack of discovering new areas to entertain and inform us. He is mightily intolerant of the glib social overview by scientist or politician and, in his capacity ... (read more)

Andrew Peek reviews 'One of the Wattle Birds' by Jessica Anderson

July 1994, no. 162 01 July 1994
Jessica Anderson’s One of the Wattle Birds celebrates the painful arrival into adulthood of Cecily Ambruss. Cecily is nineteen years old. She lives in a flat with her boyfriend, Wil, who, appropriately in view of his name, is studying Law. Cecily is an English student and during the three days over which the novel is set they are both preparing for end-of­year exams. They are a bright, intel ... (read more)

Andrew Peek reviews 'A Grain of Truth' by Nicholas Hasluck

September 1994, no. 164 01 September 1994
As Nicholas Hasluck’s latest novel points out more than once, the adversarial system of judgement upon which this country’s law is based consists of the telling and re-telling of stories. The prosecution presents a version of events, the defence uses the same facts but tells a different story and, in summing up, the judge constructs a third one. Finally the jury is empowered by society to deci ... (read more)

Andrew Peek reviews 'The Sunken Road' by Garry Disher

April 1996, no. 179 01 April 1996
The Sunken Road is an ambitious novel which sets the crisscrossing lives of families in the northern highlands of South Australia against a temporal panorama of a century and a half and forces that extend far beyond state and continent. It is a compassionate but never sentimental account of a collective experience full of hope, pain, exploitation and double standards. At its centre is a strongly r ... (read more)

Andrew Peek reviews 'Rock ‘n’ Roll Heroes' by Peter Skrzynecki

September 1992, no. 144 01 September 1992
For its double epigraph, Rock’n’Roll Heroes combines a couple of lines of Midnight Oil’s Hercules – ‘my life is a valuable thing / I want to keep it that way’ – with six wonderfully numinous sentences from Thomas Traherne: The dust and the stones of the street were as precious as gold, the gates were at first the ends of the world. The green trees when I saw them first, through on ... (read more)

Andrew Peek reviews 'Lives on Fire' by Rosie Scott

May 1993, no. 150 01 May 1993
Connoisseurs of lapidary prose and the fine art of understated narrative are unlikely to enjoy this risky passionate novel. Nor will they enthuse over sentences such as, ‘The agony was so extreme I was numb with it, as if I had fallen into a vat of molten steel and could not immediately feel the enormity of the burn’, or, ‘Flooded with embarrassment, desire, delight, I thought stupidly, no w ... (read more)

Andrew Peek reviews 'Jacko' by Tom Keneally

November 1993, no. 156 01 November 1993
We are introduced to the eponymous hero of Jacko by an Australian narrator who is writing a novel about China and teaching a writing class at New York University. The students in his class hero-worship Grace Paley, Alice Munro, and Raymond Carver and compose pieces for submission to the New Yorker. In one of them: … a woman betrayed by men of average fallibility meets a Persian-American in a ... (read more)