Ach, Australia.

First, there was obligation: as a part of my diploma exam in literature I should have read a few Australian books.

I didn’t. I did Canada, though. And I didn’t pass the exam the first time because of an American playwright, though an Irish dramatist saved me and I got the Paper in the end.

Afterwards, there was coincidence: hungry for reading I bought a book by Patrick White in a second-hand bookshop – it was his novel Voss and it must have been my first Australian work of fiction.

After I had finished the book I simply knew Australia is a great place for writers to come from.

A few years ago I read my cousin’s diploma thesis on some Australian women writers and I realized Australians have serious, often universal topics (mostly plights) to write about. Like Life and Death. Love and Death. The Bush. The Sea. The Desert. And so on.

It didn’t surprise me to read in the thesis women did most of the work but had the lowest social standing, traditionally, in the past. It is a raw world their works describe and we do know the mechanisms that govern it, since they are quite universal, in most parts of the world.

Then came Elliot Perlman. I have no idea how I came across his Seven Types of Ambiguity but I do remember I thought him to be one of the most interesting writers I have ever had the honour of chancing upon. I still think so.

It’s only that the first place has been taken by the unbelievable Tim Winton. Right now, I am reading his most appraised novel, Cloudstreet, though Dirt Music and The Riders had me levitating a few inches above the solid world, too.

The Language! The Protagonists! Twists and Turns of Fortune and Man’s Will! They have all been dealt with in a most masterful way, by a genius, that’s my honest opinion. And they make for a good reading during the less warm, friendly seasons, like autumn.


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