[Powderworks] nmoc Capricornia
Sun, 16 Dec 2001 11:48:06 +1000
I enjoyed the book, hell I could hardly put it down, but I'm particularly
fond of stories about the Outback and Aussie lives & culture (I must have
read Strict Rules 3 times already!).
I just got the book from library. Xavier Herbert wrote 2 or 3 books that
became regarded as "classic Australian literature", so it's not hard to find
here. He wrote another called "Poor Fellow My Country" which also sounds
quite interesting ( and is apparently one of the longest novels written in
the English language!), but my library doesn't have that one, dammit.
Capricornia was first published in (I think) 1938. I felt a little uneasy at
first, reading a story in which Aborigines and Chinese are constantly called
'niggers' and 'chows'. Thing to remember is that the story begins well
before WW1, in a time when racist perspectives were well and truly
commonplace. Even the more open-minded white folk used the term 'nigger'
freely in conversation.
There are some shining moments in that novel which I really enjoyed and also
terrible parts full of despair and shock. Herbert makes his point clear,
though doesn't 'take sides' as such. There's hardly a character in the book
who doen't suffer from human frailty, greed, fear or folly.
The point being that we are ALL homo-sapiens...cursing and stumbling through
life...united in our need to come to terms with the unforgiving and
unpredictable power of the landscape, the COUNTRY which smothers, devours,
but also breathes life into us all.
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