Andrew Nette reviews 'Fear Is the Rider' by Kenneth Cook

Andrew Nette reviews 'Fear Is the Rider' by Kenneth Cook

Fear Is the Rider

by Kenneth Cook

Text Publishing, $19.99 pb, 196 pp, 9781925240856

There is something alluring about the publication of a lost or unknown literary manuscript. How will it fit into the author's body of work? Is it inferior to or better than the published work? Does it illuminate a hitherto unknown aspect of the author's thinking, or make you re-examine the known sequencing or themes? These questions were on my mind as I read Fear Is the Rider, a previously unpublished manuscript by Kenneth Cook, completed in the early 1980s and published for the first time by Text Publishing.

Cook is best known for his 1961 début novel, Wake In Fright (reissued by Text Publishing in 2001), a brutal depiction of drinking and masculinity in Australia's outback. On the strength of this work alone, Cook is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the small but vibrant body of Australian 'gothic' literature, which, from the nineteenth century to the present, has focused on white Australia's alienated relationship with our harsher regions. Wake In Fright's popular status has much to do with Canadian director Ted Kotcheff's influential 1971 film of the same name.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in March 2016, no. 379
Andrew Nette

Andrew Nette

Andrew Nette is a Melbourne crime writer and freelance journalist. His first novel, Ghost Money, was published in 2012. He is co-editor of Beat Girls, Love Tribes and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, from the 1950s to 1980s, forthcoming from Verse Chorus Press in 2015. 

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.