‘The Great Australian Emptiness’ Revisited: Murray Bail’s Holden’s Performance
If, as Dean MacCannell argues, tourism is the quest for a 'reality' and an 'authenticity' that are thought to be always 'elsewhere' (160), then it was perhaps inevitable that after his first novel, Homesickness (1980)—which deals with Australian tourists abroad—Murray Bail would turn from destinations to origins. Bail has spoken of his origins in an interview in 1981: 'It was the Menzies era ... that time of boredom and emptiness—of almost deafening emptiness—which is yet to be properly documented' (38). His most recent novel, Holden's Performance (1987), is an attempt by the novelist, tourist and theorist in Bail to revisit that emptiness while retaining the perspective of 'elsewhere'.
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