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Central Mischief

August 28, 2011

I used to believe in nature's holy plan, but now I keep geese ~ Elizabeth Jolley

Image credit: Living on a farm in Slovakia

Many people in Australia have come from somewhere else. This must, over the years, have influenced the kinds of characters and incidents described by Australian writers. As well as the effects of the sights and sounds of the strange new country there has been the uneasiness of being the stranger, the newcomer. Most people try to overcome feelings of strangeness by making a tremendous effort to belong. The effort is made to own some land, to  have a house on it and a reputation and then, having those things, to reproduce, to populate. The effort is made too, to be friendly and helpful and to tell other newcomes somethiing about the place they are coming to. So we get stories about the ways in which people live and improve their ways of living.

The whole world can be seen to be reduced by a sameness of design in concrete and glass, covered with nylon foam, to become any universal hotel in any universal city. Wherever the traveller goes in the world, Singapore, Sydney, Bangkok, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, New York ~ and even here in the wheat ~ all motor hotels have a sameness so that it is hard for one to remember where one is when one wakes up inside the concrete.

The writer looks for the minute detail in the landscape.

Extract from Central Mischief: Elizabeth Jolley on writing, her past and herself

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