Tag Archives: The Burial

Six degrees…from stars to storm

#6degrees Rules

The nominated book for this month’s 6Degrees meme from Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I confess I have not yet tackled this one, although I plan to soon. At 800-plus pages, it represents a significant commitment of reading time, and this is what leads me to the second book in my chain…

Poor Fellow, My Country by Xavier Herbert, winner of the Miles Franklin Award in 1975. This is an Australian classic I’ve been interested in reading ever since I edited an excellent literary biography of Herbert: A Long and Winding Road by Sean Monahan. But at 1400-plus pages—reputedly the longest work of Australian fiction ever published—it’s another one that must wait for the right time. One of Poor Fellow, My Country’s main characters is the Aboriginal boy Prindy, which brings to mind a novel I read recently…

Cicada, the debut novel by Moira McKinnon, also features a strong Indigenous main character, the domestic servant Wirritjil. To me, Wirritjil is the novel’s heart, a heroic, pragmatic woman who leads Lady Emily Lidscombe on an epic journey across the Kimberley region of Western Australia’s North West as Emily flees from her maniacal husband. Cicada opens with the birth, and immediate death, of a child, viscerally realised on the page, as does the next book in my chain…

The Burial by Courtney Collins, which is set in the mountainous bushland of rural New South Wales in the nineteenth century. The mother, Jessie—bushranger, horse thief, murderer—is on the run, and the novel is narrated by the voice of her dead baby. I have described it here as an Australian gothic, which immediately reminds me of…

Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, another Australian gothic and another Australian classic. Set at the ghostly Hanging Rock in Victoria in 1900, the novel tells the tale of a group of schoolgirls who disappear. One of the girls is Miranda, and I can never hear that name without thinking of…

Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with Prospero’s daughter of the same name. So this month’s chain has barrelled along from nineteenth-century gold-rush New Zealand to an island in the Mediterranean in the Renaissance.












If you’d like to join in, the rules for Annabel and Emma’s 6Degrees meme are above, and here are the links to Annabel’s post and Emma’s. And, of course, I’d love to read your 6Degrees chain.



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What I’m reading: a guest post at Meanjin

When I think of all the voices in all the novels populating this house and studio—narrators lofty or confessional, intrusive or seductive, the sly unreliables, the ominiscients, the limiteds, the multiples—I know there has never been a voice like the one in the novel lying on my sofa right now.

Today I’m guest blogging at Meanjin, in its ‘What I’m reading’ series. Click here to read more about Courtney Collins’s debut novel, The Burial—and to find out why my idiosyncratic book-shelving habits do not impress my librarian sister.



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Filed under Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013, Uncategorized