David Frith’s slim biography of Archie Jackson reflects his subject’s tragically short life. When Jackson made his Test match début for Australia at Adelaide in the 1928–29 Ashes series, scoring an eye-catching 164, it was he, rather than the young Don Bradman, who instilled the most excitement in this country’s cricket-loving public. When Jackson was included in the 1930 tour of England, one ex-cricketer, Cecil Parkin, remarked that he was ‘a better bat than Bradman’, who had débuted in the same series as Jackson. This is but one example of the lavish praise that the gifted, though inconsistent, young cricketer received during his lifetime.
A conversation is an interactive exchange usually of a spontaneous nature. Janet Hawley’s essays are a mix of journalistic intention, conversational ruminations, observations, enquiries, and a gentle goading of her subjects about the ‘twin crucibles’ of creativity – the personality of the artist and what occurs in his or her sanctum, the studio. Assuming the role of confessional nursemaid and curious witness, Hawley profiles more than thirty successful artists, grand old men and women of the art world, explorers of real and psychological terrains, and deceased enfants terribles. These ‘conversations’ make unexpectedly compelling reading.
Here are two welcome additions to a long list of cookery publications in Australia promoting Gallic cuisine. French or French-style cookery in this country has come a long way since Ted Moloney and Deke Coleman’s charming but slight Oh, for a French Wife! was published by Ure Smith in 1952. Both Michel Roux: The Collection and Diane Holuigue’s A Lifetime of Cooking, Teaching and Writing from the French Kitchen demand a level of culinary skill, dedication, time, equipment, and household budget unimaginable for most Australian home cooks sixty years ago. Michel Roux is a Michelin-starred French chef and long-time resident in the United Kingdom. Diane Holuigue is a well-known, Melbourne-based Australian cookery teacher and writer. Through their cooking and publications, both have been hugely influential: Roux internationally, Holuigue in Australia.