The Demons and Devils of Van Diemen’s Land

The Diemenois
JW Clennett
Graphic Novel
Hunter Publishers
December 2015
Hardback
$39.95

CoverDiemenois-841x1024Like anyone who survived the same public school education that I did, I’d hazard to say I know more about ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, and the social and political environments that led to the first and second world wars than I do about Australian history.

What I do remember of my schooling on Australia’s history can be listed thusly:

Pangaea, Gondwanaland, Megafauna, Dreamtime, human fire-clearing practice leading to the evolution of fire-dependent flora, Abel Tasman, First Fleet, Convicts, Burke and Wills.

Vicious colonisation, genocide, bloody massacres were mentioned, sure, but in a kind of blink-and-you´ll-miss-the-whole-apartheid-thing way. It’s enough to suspect some sort of government conspiracy of silence on our shameful past. Hmm. Continue reading

I Will Be Called Murderer

MY NAME IS RED

Orhan Pamuk (Knopf, 1998) ISBN: 0-571-20047-8

My Name is Red is a complex murder mystery set in 16th century Istanbul.  It has taken me 4 attempts to read.  I can’t really point to why.  I suspect it might be a combination of my fundamental disinterest in the murder mystery genre, and a general failure to relate to very many of the characters.  Perhaps, too, it might just be that Orhan Pamuk’s prose, while beautiful, makes it difficult for me to feel the emotional pull of the story.  Since I can’t read Turkish it’s impossible for me to say whether this issue arises from the translation or from the author’s style itself.

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      Fatou Diome’s The Belly of the Atlantic is a passionate story about the dream of migration and its harsh reality.  Told from the point of view of Strasbourg resident Salie, the novel nonetheless focuses mostly on her brother Madické.  Madické lives on  the Senegalese island Niodior and dreams of being headhunted … Continue reading