Guest Post: Tony’s thoughts on Australian Authors

Over the next few weeks I have invited a few of the many participants in the Aussie Auther Challenge 2010 to share with us their thoughts on Australian Authors.

First of all I’d like to welcome Tony from Tony’s Reading List. Tony is English by birth but signed on as an Aussie several years ago. Tony lives in Melbourne with his very cute family (check out his blogger profile picture).

In his blog Tony focuses on on literary fiction, especially Japanese, German and Victorian.

Tony writes with a very knowledgeable yet understated, irreverent/humourous style that I find so entertaining to read. For that reason it came as no surprise to me when he was included in the Book Blogger Appreciation Week Long List for the ‘Best Written Book Blog’.

So, without further ado, over to Tony:

What was your motivation for signing-up for the Aussie Author Challenge 2010?

There are a lot of challenges going on in the Blogosphere, but there aren’t many which celebrate the great Australian book; when I happened across this one, I jumped at the chance to participate. Of course, the fact that I was already more than half-way to the finish line also helped ;)

Do you think the works produced by Australian authors exhibit any common styles or themes?

Difficult to say really. I suppose one standout theme would be man v nature, how the early white Australians adapted to life on the land, and how that battle continues today. Some of the more famous Aussie writers have milked that literary vein (Patrick White in ‘Voss’, Tim Winton in ‘Dirt Music’, Peter Carey in ‘Oscar and Lucinda’). Another would be intercultural relations, whether that refers to early settlers and Aborigines (e.g. David Malouf’s ‘Remembering Babylon’), or Anglos and later migrants (as in any of Christos Tsiolkas’ books).

Voss (Penguin Classics)   Dirt Music   Oscar and Lucinda: movie tie-in edition   Remembering Babylon: A Novel

What is your favourite book read for the Aussie Author Challenge thus far and why?

I would have to say ‘Dead Europe’ by Christos Tsiolkas. It is one of the most confronting, raw, visceral books I’ve ever read, and it addresses the issue of belonging (and the connected issue of the tendency to look back to Europe as a home of sorts) beautifully – although, remembering what happened in the book, beautiful may be the wrong word. In my opinion, it’s a much better book than ‘The Slap’ and worthy of a larger readership.

Do you have a favourite Australian author? Who and why?

I haven’t really read enough by many of the most well-known Aussie writers, and I’ve only read a couple of books by a few others, but if pushed to nominate one, I would have to go for Tim Winton. The writing is sparse and simple, but the meaning is multi-layered and complex, the tension always palpable. In my best-of post for 2009, both ‘Breath’ and ‘The Riders’ made the Top Ten (and deservedly so too). Funnily enough, ‘Cloudstreet’, perhaps his most famous book, is the only one which didn’t really grab me first time around. However, I am planning to give it a second chance sometime soon…

The Slap: A Novel   Breath: A Novel   The Riders (IMPORT)

This year the Aussie Author Reading Challenge Badge featured a kangaroo. What native Australian animal would you like to see featured on the badge for this challenge in 2011?

A koala. As a father of two little girls (who struggles to get his eight hours a night) any animal that can sleep for twenty hours a day is worthy of serious respect. 2011 is the Year of the Koala :)

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Thank you so much Tony for your insightful comments on some of Australia’s great authors (and for being my first ever guest poster!). I know you have inspired me to put Tim Winton on my must read list.

If you have not already checked out Tony’s Reading List I urge you to do so. Apart from his reviews of Australian authors (linked above), my personal favourite is his brilliant review of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, my favourite book of all time.

Quick plug for the Aussie Author Challenge:

Books Mentioned In This Post:
Voss – Patrick White
Dirt Music, Breathe, The Riders, Cloudstreet – Tim Winton
Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey
Remembering Babylon – David Malouf
Dead Europe, The Slap – Chris Tsiolkas

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