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Max by Alex Miller

October 2020, no. 425

Max by Alex Miller

Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 280 pp

Max by Alex Miller

October 2020, no. 425

When Alex Miller first thought of writing about Max Blatt, he imagined a celebration of his life. But would Max have wanted that? He was a melancholy, chainsmoking European migrant, quiet and self-effacing, who claimed nothing for himself except defeat and futility.

Max died in 1981, but for many years he was Miller’s mentor, inspiration, and best friend. As a fledgling writer, Miller looked up to the older man for advice, criticism, and confidence. His first published short story was based on a wartime incident in Max’s life. Later, as an acclaimed novelist, Miller often spoke of Max, in interviews with myself and others, imitating his friend’s slow raspy voice and eyes narrowed against cigarette smoke. Max turns up in his writing in various guises, notably the character Martin in his autobiographical novel The Passage of Love (2017).

Jane Sullivan reviews 'Max' by Alex Miller


by Alex Miller

Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 280 pp

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Comment (1)

  • Hi Alex Miller. I was Interested to hear about your book. My parents were in Shanghai with Ruth and Max and spent many hours discussing their life and politics in postwar Melbourne.
    Posted by Miriam sztrajt
    15 October 2020

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