Browsing Writers Radio by Issue Date
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Item"The Sweetest Dream" by Doris Lessing. [review - radio script](2001-10-27) Dooley, Gillian MaryDoris Lessing turned 82 this year, but she shows no sign of mellowing or tiring. Her output continues to be prodigious, even for a writer half her age. Since 1994 she has published no fewer than 6 new books – 2 volumes of autobiography and 4 novels, and her range of styles is as various as it ever was. The most recent novels have included a futurist fable (Mara and Dann), a smaller-scale but not short realist novel (Love, Again), a picaresque sequel to "The Fifth Child", her modern-day morality tale (Ben in the World), and, most recently, a huge baggy family saga, "The Sweetest Dream". ItemV.S. Naipaul wins the Nobel. [review - radio script](2001-12-01) Dooley, Gillian MaryV.S. Naipaul wins the Nobel Prize for Literature after many years on the short list. Item"Half a Life" by V.S. Naipaul. [review - radio script](2001-12-01) Dooley, Gillian MaryAt the beginning of "Half a Life", Willie Chandran asks his father why his middle name is Somerset. His father replies, ‘without joy, “You were named after a great English writer.”’ This phrase, ‘without joy’, could equally refer to the whole novel. It begins with an account of the dreary life of Willie’s father, a high-caste Indian sadhu married to a low-caste woman he despises, and continues with Willie’s own story as a foreign student in London and then husband of a ‘half-and-half’ Portuguese-African on her East African estate. Item"Raven Road" by Cassandra Pybus. [review - radio script](2001-12-03) Dooley, Gillian Mary"Raven Road" is about Lillian Alling, a Polish or Russian immigrant to North America during the 1920s. She appeared in the remote, rugged terrain of British Columbia in September 1927, and although her English was bad, she was understood to say that she was walking to Siberia. Pybus first came across Lillian’s story when browsing in a bookshop on an earlier visit to Canada and subsequently sought out other accounts of Lillian’s trek. "Raven Road" is the record ofher slow, frustrating and ultimately inconclusive search for information about Lillian’s fate, and the real reason for her foolhardy, super-human undertaking – walking through unforgiving country which had defeated countless others. Item"Even As We Speak" by Clive James. [review - radio script](2002-05-11) Dooley, Gillian Mary"Even As We Speak" is Clive James’s sixth collection of essays, and covers the broad range of cultural, historical and literary criticism we have come to expect. Reading James’s essays is rather like conversing with an old friend. Often what he says is riveting and eloquent, at other times it’s a bit tedious or facetious, and sometimes you wish he’d stop carrying on about a particular obsession you don’t share. But overall, it’s worth while spending time with him, and interesting to hear his views on almost anything. Item"Call Waiting" by Dianne Blacklock. [review - radio script](2002-05-20) Dooley, Gillian Mary"Call Waiting" is not a novel for those who are looking for surprises, or who dislike happy endings. It is an unashamed romance, with an orphaned heroine, bodice-ripping love scenes, and a healthy dose of contempt for city living and a prejudice in favour of the rural life – not the outback, just the safe area around Bowral, not too far from Sydney and shopping. Item"Feeling the Heat" by Pat Lowe. [review - radio script](2002-05-27) Dooley, Gillian Mary"Feeling the Heat" is packaged as ‘Young Adult Fiction’ – for children 14 plus. It would be a pity if this put older adults off, though, since it is a sensitively written book dealing with subjects all Australians might find compelling – issues of race and belonging and growing up in Australian society. Item"Rose Boys" by Peter Rose. [review - radio script](2002-05-27) Dooley, Gillian MaryPeter Rose, poet, publisher, and the editor of "Australian Book Review", has written a family biography about his older brother Robert whose career as one of Australia’s foremost sportsmen was brutally cut short in 1974, at the age of 22, when a car accident left him a quadriplegic. Item"Yesterday’s Dust" by Joy Dettman. [review - radio script](2002-06-29) Dooley, Gillian Mary"Yesterday’s Dust" is Joy Dettman’s fourth novel, and is a sequel to her first, "Mallawindy". It continues the family saga of the Burtons, a melodrama of violence, sex and secrets set in country New South Wales. Item"Seducing Mr Maclean" by Loubna Haikal. [review - radio script](2002-07-08) Dooley, Gillian MaryLoubna Haikal, in her first novel, "Seducing Mr Maclean", writes about the age-old problems of adjustment and culture clash which face the children of migrant families. The narrator – never named – is a young Lebanese medical student, a refugee, with her parents and seven brothers and sisters, from the Lebanese wars of the late 20th century. The second daughter of the family, she gets into Melbourne University medical school on the strength of high marks in French (a result of her bilingual Beirut education), and the appreciation of her personal charms by the Dean, who thereafter monitors her progress with an inordinate amount of personal attention. This is Professor Maclean, the Mr Maclean of the title. The narrator is naïve in many ways, desperately trying to make sense of the strange language and customs of her new Australian friends, and incidentally giving a fresh and sometimes disturbing perspective on our own culture and its idiosyncrasies. Item"Llama for Lunch" by Lydia Laube. [review - radio script](2002-07-08) Dooley, Gillian Mary"It was a pigpen of a place but the people were friendly." This is Lydia Laube’s description of a Bolivian eating place in her new book Llama for Lunch, but it could stand for her attitude to the whole of South America. She occasionally describes an attractive or striking landscape, but her main focus is on herself as a traveller on this continent which she finds so dirty, backward and personally challenging. Item"Youth" by J.M. Coetzee. [review - radio script](2002-07-20) Dooley, Gillian Mary"Youth" continues J.M. Coetzee’s thinly veiled autobiography, which began in 1997 with "Boyhood". Although these books are called novels, his main character shares not only the author’s age and background, but his name, John Coetzee. Item"The Lady and the Luddite" by Linden Salter. [review - radio script](2002-08-19) Dooley, Gillian Mary"The Lady and the Luddite" is an historical romance by English-born Northern Territory writer Linden Salter. Salter has taken characters and incidents from Charlotte Bronte’s second novel "Shirley", and shaped an exciting tale of class revolt and forbidden love, set in Yorkshire in Regency times. The Industrial Revolution, and its violent opposition by the Luddites, working men driven to destroy the machines which are stealing their jobs, forms the setting for both novels. However, while Bronte’s heroine, the heiress Shirley Keeldar, marries against the wishes of her family, her husband is an educated man of a good though impoverished family; whereas Salter’s Shirley falls for a working-class hero, a Luddite named Tom Mellor. Item"The Killing of Sister McCormack" by Anne Henderson. [review - radio script](2002-08-19) Dooley, Gillian MaryIrene McCormack was a Josephite nun working in a mountain village of Peru when she was executed, along with 4 local men, by Shining Path terrorists in May 1991. A decade after the event, Henderson became interested in her when it appeared she was being passed over for Pope John Paul’s list of martyrs of the twentieth century. She decided to try and find out why. Her quest took her to friends, relations and colleagues of Sister McCormack all over Australia, and to Peru, the scene of the crime. Item"The Prosperous Thief" by Andrea Goldsmith. [review - radio script](2002-11-23) Dooley, Gillian MaryAndrea Goldsmith’s novel "The Prosperous Thief" is as exciting as a thriller, but has much more to offer. It is not strikingly original in theme, being a family saga with its roots in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. However, it is well written and absorbing and for the most part avoids sentimentality, treating the dilemmas and contradictions of the dreadful history of World War Two and its aftermath without simplifications: there are no heroes or villains. Item"The Showgirl and the Brumby" by Lucy Lehmann. [review - radio script](2002-12-14) Dooley, Gillian MaryLucy Lehmann’s novel "The Showgirl and the Brumby" was runner up in the Vogel literary awards in 2000. It is a story of family rivalry across three generations set in the New South Wales country town of Cowra. Item"Snake" by Kate Jennings. [review - radio script](2003-05-10) Dooley, Gillian Mary"Snake" is Kate Jennings’ first novel, first published in 1996 and now re-issued in the wake of the success of "Moral Hazard". It’s the mordant story of a marriage in rural New South Wales, told with economy and stabbing precision. Item"Cecilia: An Ex-Nun’s Extraordinary Journey" by Cecilia Inglis. [review - radio script](2003-05-10) Dooley, Gillian MaryThis is the memoir of a not particularly remarkable life, told with sincerity, sentiment but little wit or real imagination. Cecilia Cahill was fifteen, the youngest of a large catholic family, when she had the vocation to enter the religious life.