Review of Liars: Australian New Novelists, by Helen Daniel
It is rare, and heartening, to see a large publishing house in Australia bringing out literary criticism aimed at a non-academic audience. Penguin took the plunge in 1987 with Don Anderson's Hot Copy: witty and contentious, the reviews and articles it brought together from sources as disparate as Southerly and the review pages of the Sydney Morning Herald showed a sharp awareness of how criticism is the business of anyone who believes books to be important. Now, following that success, we have Helen Daniel's Liars, a study of eight recent Australian novelists — Mathers, Ireland, Jolley, Murnane, Carey, Bail, Hasluck and Foster. Like Anderson, Daniel is a reviewer, an enthusiastic and outspoken commentator on recent fiction (in the Melbourne Age and elsewhere). Unlike Hot Copy, though, Liars is planned as a single, detailed and large-scale study of the state of the art in contemporary Australia.
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