Transit Lounge $29.95 pb, 368 pp, 9781921924965
The work of Brisbane-based author Patrick Holland is reputedly influenced by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, whose Tabula Rasa cemented his standing as one of the so-called 'holy minimalists' of late-twentieth century music. Reading Holland's new novel, One – based on the hunt for the Kenniff brothers, bushrangers operating in Western Queensland circa 1902 – the influence of Pärt's sparse, bell-like compositional technique known as 'tintinnabuli' is not especially obvious. What stands out more clearly is Holland's debt to that paragon of literary minimalism, Cormac McCarthy. One is a Blood Meridian for the antipodes, and a writer looking to develop a frontier narrative of isolation and violence could do worse than take inspiration from an acknowledged master of the style.