Rereading David Malouf’s Fly Away Peter : The Great War, Aboriginal Dispossession, and the Politics of Remembering

Abstract

The author’s account of Fly Away Peter is intended ‘to raise the question of the relation between Malouf’s closely intertwined narratives of the Great War and the formation of Australian identity and, on the other hand, Aboriginal narratives of dispossession and self-affirmation.’ This leads to a consideration of the novel’s treatment of the Anzac myth and its role as a settler narrative; and to a discussion of the ‘Ngurrara Canvas’, painted by ‘Great Sandy Desert traditional owners prior to the National Native Title tribunal hearings in 1997’. ‘Rather than pitting one narrative of loss and recovery against another, I hope to suggest some of the heterogenous, perhaps incommensurate elements in relation to which any twenty-first-century narrative of Australian identity must locate itself’ (38-39).

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Published 1 May 2009 in Volume 24 No. 1. Subjects: Aboriginal dispossession, Australian identity, Critical reception, Loss, Pioneers & settlers, World War I.

Cite as: Otto, Peter. ‘Rereading David Malouf’s Fly Away Peter : The Great War, Aboriginal Dispossession, and the Politics of Remembering.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, 2009. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.6763bc75d2.