Some Recent Australian Fictions in the Age of Tourism: Murray Bail, Inez Baranay, Gerard Lee


Exile, expatriation, migration, travel: a rhetoric of restlessness has underpinned Australia's chimerical search for national selfhood. Torn between the need for definition and the desire to elude it, generations of Australians have sensed that they might better understand their country, or themselves, by leaving it. And leave it they have, in their droves; in 1991, over two million Australians- more than 10% of the total population - left the country: for New Zealand and the United States, mostly, but also for Europe and, increasingly, for Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. Of these two million, most were short-term tourists. Australians live, and have lived for some time now, in an age of mass tourism. Yet the enormous impact that tourism has had, and continues to have, on Australian culture - on Australia's sense of itself and of its place in the world - has not been reflected in the nation's writing; until recently, that is, for in the '80s and early '90s, a new genre of Australian literature has arguably emerged: a genre I shall refer to here - tongue-in-cheek - as the Australian tourist novel.

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Published 1 October 1993 in Volume 16 No. 2. Subjects: Australian culture, Defining an Australian literature, Satire, Tourism & travel industry, Travel fiction & writing, Writer's craft.

Cite as: Huggan, Graham. ‘Some Recent Australian Fictions in the Age of Tourism: Murray Bail, Inez Baranay, Gerard Lee.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 16, no. 2, 1993, doi: 10.20314/als.b5fcd768d3.