Laurie Clancy

Laurie Clancy (1942–2010) was a leading Australian critic, fiction-writer, and teacher. His novel A Collapsible Man (1975) was a joint winner of the National Book Council Award for Fiction while Perfect Love won the FAW/ANA Literary Award in 1984. He published book-length studies of Christina Stead, Xavier Herbert, and Vladimir Nabokov as well as A Reader's Guide to Australian Fiction (1992). In 1980, he joined ABR as associate editor.

Laurie Clancy reviews 'Voices from the Corner' by Serge Liberman

April 2000, no. 219 01 April 2000
Laurie Clancy reviews 'Voices from the Corner' by Serge Liberman
A few years ago I was teaching an anthology of Australian short stories to a group of very bright Spanish honours students at the University of Barcelona. As one would expect, some of the stories were written by Australia’s most famous and highly regarded writers but at the end of the course the students voted unanimously for Serge Liberman’s ‘Envy’s Fire’ as the finest story they had re ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews 'Illywhacker' by Peter Carey

August 1985, no. 73 01 August 1985
Laurie Clancy reviews 'Illywhacker' by Peter Carey
An Illywhacker, Peter Carey reminds us at the start of his latest and by far his longest novel, is a trickster or spieler. Wilkes cites it in Kylie Tennant’s famous novel of 1941, The Battlers. The other epigraph to the novel is also preoccupied with deception and is familiar to anyone who knows Carey’s work: Brian Kiernan used it as the title of his anthology of new Australian short story wri ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews 'Flesh in Armour' by Leonard Mann

May 1986, no. 80 01 May 1986
Laurie Clancy reviews 'Flesh in Armour' by Leonard Mann
Leonard Mann’s account of his experiences in World War One, Flesh in Armour, has recently been reissued. It may be the case that there are certain experiences that are impossible to write about unless one has personally undergone them. The three great Australian classics of World War One – Flesh in Armour, The Middle Parts of Fortune and When the Blackbirds Sing – all convey an air of total ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews 'Reading the Signs' by Michael Wilding

May 1985, no. 70 01 May 1985
Laurie Clancy reviews 'Reading the Signs' by Michael Wilding
This is the largest and most eclectic of Wilding’s four collections of short stories so far. Its 284 pages include stories ranging from ninety pages and two. Mostly written in the first person, they range in space between England and Australia, go back to the childhood of the narrator(s) (sometimes identified as Mike or Michael, making the autobiographical inferences irresistible) and in mode ra ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews 'Henry Handel Richardson: The letters' edited by Clive Probyn and Bruce Steele

October 2000, no. 225 01 October 2000
Laurie Clancy reviews 'Henry Handel Richardson: The letters' edited by Clive Probyn and Bruce Steele
The status of Henry Handel Richardson as a writer in Australia has always been somewhat problematic. Some people put that down to the fact that she was an expatriate. Leaving Australia at the age of eighteen, she returned only once, very briefly, in 1912. Expatriates, however, have often been paranoid about their reputation in this country and inclined to imagine that the Australian public is puni ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews 'The Summer Game' by Gideon Haigh

February–March 1998, no. 198 01 February 1998
Laurie Clancy reviews 'The Summer Game' by Gideon Haigh
Gideon Haigh is turning into something of a one-man industry on cricket in Australia. Following highly successful books on the Packer revolution, Allan Border’s reign, and a recent defence of the Ashes, he has now turned his attention to the crucial years 1949 to 1971 when Australia went from being undisputed world champions to a side being overtaken, not merely by England but for the first time ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews 'The Country of Lost Children: An Australian anxiety' by Peter Pierce

May 1999, no. 210 01 May 1999
Laurie Clancy reviews 'The Country of Lost Children: An Australian anxiety' by Peter Pierce
Peter Pierce’s concern in this critical study is with two periods – from the second half of the nineteenth century, when most of the myths of the lost child began to appear, and the second half of this century, when a quite different kind of narrative emerges. The period in between he regards as largely a consolidation of the late nineteenth-century examples. Ranging widely over not only liter ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews 'Nuns in Jeopardy' by Martin Boyd

April 1986, no. 79 01 April 1986
Laurie Clancy reviews 'Nuns in Jeopardy' by Martin Boyd
It is astonishing how many major works of Australian fiction – and often major works in themselves – are out of print at any given time. Angus and Robertson and Penguin, occasionally assisted by smaller firms like the specialist feminist press Virago and the university presses, have done fine work in drawing attention to novels and writers undeservedly out of print. One writer who seemed out o ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews '12 Edmonstone Street' by David Malouf

February–March 1986, no. 78 01 February 1986
Laurie Clancy reviews '12 Edmonstone Street' by David Malouf
The opening word of this collection of stylish essays in autobiography by David Malouf is ‘memory’; it is a word that recurs regularly throughout the text and a faculty that is central to most of Malouf’s work. Malouf is a writer perpetually in exile, forever dispossessed and these essays, like most of his fiction, are an attempt to recapture and retain a sense of the past; they repeat and r ... (read more)

Laurie Clancy reviews 'About Tilly Beamis' by Sumner Locke Elliott

April 1986, no. 79 01 April 1986
Laurie Clancy reviews 'About Tilly Beamis' by Sumner Locke Elliott
Expatriate Australian writer and now naturalised American citizen Sumner Locke Elliott seems to have written this novel to dramatise his own sense of cultural displacement and identity. Cutting back and forth in time (between 1978 and 1950) and place (Australia and the United States), it traces the attempt of a woman named Tanya van Zandt in New York to retrace the whereabouts and identity of an A ... (read more)
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