Review of London Was Full of Rooms, edited by Tully Barnett, Nena Bierbaum, Syd Harrex, Rick Hosking and Graham Tulloch
In Stella Bowen's painting, 'Embankment Gardens', dark figures pace concrete walks amid extravagantly green patches of lawn. The leafless trees, the pale skies announce winter. Cleopatra's Needle is in the foreground, St Paul's a distant smudge across the river. The cover illustration for London Was Full of Rooms (edited by numerous hands) is of the metropolis that has beckoned Australian writers, artists, and actors for more than one hundred years. But not only them: the book's title comes from the posthumously published novel London Does Not Belong to Me (2003) by the Malaysian writer and lawyer, Lee Kok Liang (1927-92). The first part of London Was Full of Rooms assesses Lee's experiences in England and France in the early 1950s, and their literary issue in the novel and in the journal 'Sketches & Vignettes & Brush Strokes' (as yet unpublished, though a manuscript is held at the Centre for Research in the New Literatures in English, Flinders University). The second part of this edited collection eclectically and intriguingly samples the responses of sojourners, mainly Australian, but from other Commonwealth countries also.
Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.
Cite as: Pierce, Peter. ‘Review of London Was Full of Rooms, edited by Tully Barnett, Nena Bierbaum, Syd Harrex, Rick Hosking and Graham Tulloch.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, 2007, doi: 10.20314/als.80422e8371.