Obernewtyn (was recommended books)

Kathleen Jennings s368333 at student.uq.edu.au
Sun Jun 23 01:34:15 EDT 2002

I said I was generalising! I haven't read that widely in Australian fantasy
because of a few not-so-good experiences. When I've read a few more I'll get
back and say what I think. For some reason I have a bad reaction to a lot of
Australian fiction, and I know its just me, not the author. Almost like
claustrophobia. Or maybe its the 'cultural cringe'. Whatever there is about
the novel that marks it as 'Australian', to me has negative connotations
(that said, there are some I like very much).

I agree with Sally's "cool and misty feel" to the British works, but to me
that mist is always on the border of a much darker place. I read  a book
along time ago, the name of which I come across regularly but which I cannot
keep in my head - maybe Earthfasts? - which along with Garner coloured a lot
of my reading. I think it lends the darker works their darkness, the serious
works their gravity and the serious works their power - you marvel at the
structure of a bridge which spans a chasm. The same construction on solid
ground doesn't have the same effect. It's the background - history is at
once serious business and a playground in a lot of British works, same for
mythology. There is this terrific grounding in and appreciation of history,
which seems to translate equally well into an ability and license to treat
it (theirs or any-one else's) with madcap abandon. I'm thinking Lewis, T. H.
White, Pratchett, Rowling, all of whom have the same recklessly irreverent
approach to the fabric of which their culture is made, a license granted in
part by familiarity and respect and in part by a certain residual arrogance
from days of Empire &etc. (I'm still wondering why the makers of the film
had Hagrid buy Fluffy from an Irishman in a bar. The "Greek chappy" was just
as obscure a reference for those ignorant of Greek mythology, while for
those of my friends who are familiar with Cerberus, we ended up rolling on
the floor).


Hve blásnautt er hjarta sem einskis saknar.
How destitute is a heart that misses nothing.
       - Ýmir, Einar Benediktsson
Kathleen Jennings
s368333 at student.uq.edu.au

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