The Ballad of Desmond Kale and so on…

31 Jul

I mentioned a while ago that I bought a remaindered copy just before Roger McDonald’s novel won the Miles Franklin Prize. Now I am reading it, and I have to say I really don’t like it all that much. I think it magic realisms itself to death, though there are many clever moments and some sharp characterisation, but being so clever for so long makes me feel just a bit too sated in the end. I much preferred Carrie Tiffany’s Everyday Rules for Scientific Living which was shortlisted for the same prize. They say The Ballad of Desmond Kale is sprawling; well it is that. Too clever for its own good, in my opinion, with more about sheep than I will ever want to know, or ever did. However, it does give a good whiff of colonial life, but too often I found myself forcing myself to read.

However, see Peter Peirce in The Age. One reason for reading the novel is that it will be discussed tomorrow night in the new First Tuesday Book Club on ABC-TV, which I am looking forward to. I also found an excellent literary/political/pop culture blog just now, while checking out Desmond Kale: Friday Six PM by Beth Driscoll.

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One response to “The Ballad of Desmond Kale and so on…

  1. Owner

    August 1, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    Well, I watched, and enjoyed, The First Tuesday Book Club and found I was not alone in having reservations about Desmond Kale. Love the varied cast too. Jennifer Byrne is feisty and a great presenter. The professional from The Age is, I am afraid, almost the wanker from central casting. Jacki Wever is Jacki Wever. Marieke Hardy is delightful. But Peter Cundall is a true treasure. I felt his account of the possibilities of Brett Easton Ellis’s satire (?) American Psycho was passionate, humane, and about time somebody said it. Being better known for his gardening show, Cundall decided it would make good compost. I am even more a Cundall fan than I was before.

    Good show though, and a great idea and a good site on (linked in the entry above).

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