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Review of A Brief Take on the Australian Novel

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Review of A Brief Take on the Australian Novel

What we’re reading: Cassandra Clare, Yangsze Choo and Jean-François Vernay

6 MAY 2016

Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films we’re watching, the television shows we’re hooked on or the music we’re loving.

Mike Shuttleworth is reading A Brief Take on the Australian Novel by Jean-François Vernay

The French writer and academic Jean-François Vernay has done a tremendous service to Australian readers and writers.

A Brief Take on the Australian Novel gives us a brisk 200 year tour of the preoccupations and patterns of Australian writing. Jean François might be French in origin but fear not, dear reader: his synoptic account of our literary past and present does not come draped in post-post-early-for-Christmas theorising. What the book will do is to show us again our literary origins as the prominent, the neglected, the forgotten and the unfashionable books are dusted off and shown in a new light. Although I sorely wish Jean François' book existed when I studied Australian literature at university, his brief take is much more than a undergraduate primer. A Brief Take on the Australian Novel will open up new reading choices and shows in a lively, engaged manner the diversity, vigour and relevance of the Australian novel.

Jean François Vernay lives in New Caledonia and will appear at this year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival.

Mike Shuttleworth, Readings Blog, 6 May 2016.

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