Crucible: An Australian First World War novel
BWM Books, US$18.95 pb, 167 pp, 9780987417015
Everybody knows by now that the eBook may soon become as significant to literature as recording is to music. The copyright problems are evident, but on the positive side the tired old market-driven canon is being given a rude shake-up.
Quality speaks for itself. Recent welcome revivals include editions of David Ireland’s The Unknown Industrial Prisoner (1971) and Kenneth Mackenzie’s flawless evocation of adolescent love, The Young Desire It (1937). Now, for the first time in seventy-eight years, J.P. McKinney’s novel of the Great War, Crucible, has been reissued by a small Canberra publisher as an eBook.
It is curious that the Great War (generally credited with a central role in defining the nation) should have produced so little literature: so few poems and so very few novels. Both the rarity of Crucible and its admirable qualities make this an event to celebrate.