Thomas Keneally

On Thomas Keneally by Stan Grant & With the Falling of the Dusk by Stan Grant

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June 2021, no. 432

Let’s start with a portrait. The year is 1993. The book is My Kind of People. Its author is Wayne Coolwell, a journalist. Who are Coolwell’s kind of people? Ernie Dingo, for one. Sandra Eades. Noel Pearson. Archie Roach. And there, sandwiched between opera singer Maroochy Barambah and dancer Linda Bonson is Stan Grant, aged thirty. Circa 1993, Grant is a breakthrough television presenter and journalist whose mother remembers him coming home to read the newspaper while the other kids went to play footy. ‘[T]here was a maturity and a sense of order about him,’ Coolwell writes. The order belies his parents’ life of ‘tin humpies, dirt floors, and usually only the one bed for all the kids in the family’.

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Thomas Keneally’s novel The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972) is based in part on historical events, particularly the crimes committed by Jimmy Governor, an Aboriginal man from New South Wales. In 1900, Governor was a key figure involved in the killing of nine Europeans, including five women and children. The killings followed Governor’s marriage t ...

The European settlement of Australia, the colony’s earliest years, its expansion into, and alienation of, lands inhabited for millennia by the first Australians: these are the great and abiding themes of the Australian story. Together with the rather overdone nationalist narratives of war rekindled each and every Anzac Day, they are the focal points of popular his ...

Thomas Keneally (1935–) is an award-winning Australian novelist and historian.. Keneally won the 1982 Booker Prize for Schindler’s Ark, which would go on to win Oscars as the 1993 film Schindler’s List. Keneally has won the Miles Franklin Award twice for Bring Larks and Heroes in 1967 and Three Cheers for the Paraclete in 19 ...

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alancing the big picture with the intimate details that engage us when reading a novel is not easy. This latest book from veteran Australian author Tom Keneally is epic in scope, but takes us into the intimate worlds of particular people. This is the way to tell a story about an event as mammoth as World War I. Keneally, the author of Schindler’s Ark ...

Many of my dreams have to do with the sea. Sometimes they concern Antarctica, an exciting prelude to going into the interior with other people.

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Lincoln by Thomas Keneally

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May 2003, no. 251

Weidenfeld & Nicolson were both wise and fortunate in their choice of Thomas Keneally to write a study of Abraham Lincoln for their Lives series. He in turn gifted them, and us, with a story that listens closely to Lincoln’s words and sees some shape in the internal and external demons that so often troubled his life. Keneally’s narrative moves quietly alongside the Illinois rail-splitter as Lincoln transforms himself from local small-time politician to President of the USA.

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A River Town by Thomas Keneally

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May 1995, no. 170

The river town is Kempsey on the north coast of New South Wales, 300 miles from Sydney. It is the new year and, we soon learn, just around the turn of the century, immediately before Federation. Once more Keneally has plundered Australian history in order to explore his concern with Australian identity.

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Tom Keneally used to be a fashionable writer, but not anymore, at least not with the critics, though readers continue to read him. Critical concern today is with aesthetics rather than ethics, theory rather than practice. Towards Asmara is therefore not likely to get a great deal of serious attention. This is a pity because it raises some weighty issues, and the loss is the critics’!

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Thomas Keneally’s A Family Madness attempts to get the reader in touch with life beyond the headline and the common enough family madness which irrupts the security we call home, sweet home. While each family may be unhappy in its own way, only some hit the screen or the front page, splattering their sorrow onto family breakfasts, lunches, dinners.

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