Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Volcano

One item in the big pile of work I've just finished (hence no blogging for while now) is the review of a new novel by Venero Armanno, Candle Life. That's still under embargo, but while I'm thinking about it let me recommend his last novel, The Volcano, to anyone who hasn't read it. This book seemed to get the critical response it deserved only in Armanno's home state of Queensland, where it won the Premier's Prize in its year.

All of the major literary prizes have different chronological catchment areas so it's not easy to work out which would have been eligible for what in which year, but if my calculations are correct, The Volcano would have been up against some stiff competition for the 2002 Miles Franklin award -- Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish, Joan London's Gilgamesh and the winner, Tim Winton's Dirt Music, among others.

But I'm still very surprised that it didn't even make the shortlist. It deserves higher status as a contemporary classic: a rich, broad, deep, impassioned, rumbustious novel with overtones and undertones of magic realism firmly anchored (sorry, mixed metaphor, pah) in social and world history, with a wonderful cast of characters and a hero both lovable and memorable.

3 comments:

Dean said...

I look forward to your posts, but they're quite infrequent. Maybe you're just too busy to post more often. I know that with my current committments, it's hard for me to post to my blog even once a week.

KLG said...

Dean, I have another blog and most of my blogging energy goes into that. It started out anonymousish and has sort of just stayed that way by accident, but it's here if you want to check it out.

genevieve said...

Kerryn, I really enjoyed your review of this novel in ABR. I'm beginning to see all the things you wrote about reviewing (on my blog) very clearly in your work, when placed alongside that of others. A very fair appraisal.