Dean Biron reviews 'One' by Patrick Holland

Dean Biron reviews 'One' by Patrick Holland

One

by Patrick Holland

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.

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Dean Biron

Dean Biron

Dean Biron teaches in the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University. Hewas co-winner of the 2011 Calibre Essay Prize.