Saturday, June 6, 2009

The higher horseshit

On Richard Flanagan's intellectual style

Not long ago, during a TV documentary about the writer Richard Flanagan, no less a literary pundit than Baz Luhrmann proclaimed Flanagan "the Australian Hemingway." These days, of course, it's quite permissible to go around passing such judgements without necessarily having read any actual books by either party -- and indeed it emerged, as Baz fleshed the comparison out, that what he mainly had in mind was the fact that both guys were quite keen on the outdoors. But he did, I think, throw in a token reference to the excellence of Flanagan's prose after that.

So how sound is Baz Luhrmann’s literary taste?  Here, free from the Web, is the overture to Richard Flanagan's 2006 novel, The Unknown Terrorist:

The idea that love is not enough is a particularly painful one. In the face of its truth, humanity has for centuries tried to discover in itself evidence that love is the greatest force on earth ... [read more]