Monday, February 15, 2010

ABR's Favourite Australian Novel

I voted for The Vivisector by Patrick White in the Australian Book Review survey of favourite Australian novels. It made it into the Top 20 at place 14.
The book is also in the running for the 1970 Lost Man Booker Prize. That year, the rules were changed and 1970 books were not considered. The prize is now being reconsidered. Would Paddy have cared? (Probably -- he was a dark horse.)
If you are frightened of reading Paddy and who isn't, The Vivisector is a good place to start. It's a very Sydney novel. I'm thinking of the humidity and dampness there at the moment and the book's atmosphere is already with me. I like to think it is close to being a self-portrait -- the cruelness of the artist cutting through emotional sinews in pursuit of his obsessions.

1 comment:

Barbara Temperton said...

My vote was for Alexis Wright's "Carpentaria", which - I'm thrilled to say - just made it into the ABR list. I recall sending my Dad a copy for Christmas with the inscription "The Great Australian novel has arrived!" Apart from the fact that it is such great read, I loved the way it did unexpected things with time and place. And when I thought about it I realised "Carpentaria" used the structural elements of Dreamtime stories, all those wonderful (Australian magic-realist) techniques, and also incorporated contemporary occurrences (such as the great oceanic rubbish-heap thing - forgive me, can't recall its proper name). I just love "Carpentaria" - best book I've read in many years.