Suzanne Falkiner

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Randolph Stow was one of the great Australian writers of his generation. His novel To the Islands - written in his early twenties after living on a remote Aboriginal mission - won the Miles Franklin Award for 1958. In later life, after publishing seven remarkable novels and several collections of poetry, Stow's literary output slowed. This biography examines the productive period as well as his long periods of publishing silence. In Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow, Suzanne Falkiner unravels the reasons behind Randolph Stow's quiet retreat from Australia and the wider literary world. Meticulously researched, insightful and at times deeply moving, Falkiner's biography pieces together an intriguing story from Stow's personal letters, diaries, and interviews with the people who knew him best. And many of her tales - from Stow's beginnings in idyllic rural Australia, to his critical turning point in Papua New Guinea, and his final years in Essex, England - provide us with keys to unlock the meaning of Stow's rich and introspective works. *** The overriding virtue of this book is Falkiner's steady trust in the intelligence of her readers. She spells very little out, presenting us instead with this carefully curated wealth of textual evidence. -- Kerryn Goldsworthy, Australian Book Review *** Finally we have some sense of the wounds that shaped and animated Stow's poetry and fiction. -- Geordie Williamson, The Australian *** Suzanne Falkiner's prodigious biography of Randolph Stow is a book long awaited by many; not just the literati of his native Australia but those countless readers who feasted on his novels and wondered what kind of person could write with such imaginative power. Not only do we come to appreciate what led this renowned Australian writer to create his celebrated fictional works, but we are also given rare glimpses into the inner world of this most private individual, whose personal demons included a dependence on alcohol, two suicide attempts, and struggles with homosexuality. Falkiner cut her teeth on six previous biographies, which stood her in good stead to tackle this challenge. Against significant odds, she has done a masterful job in painting a portrait of one of Australia's most revered writers, somewhat akin to what compatriot David Marr did for Nobel Prize-winning author Patrick White. It will no doubt send readers scurrying back to Stow's novels, which, as Marr once said, is the best news a biographer can hear. --World Literature Today, January-February 2017 [Subject: Biography, Literary Criticism]

ISBN: 9781742586601
Publication Date: 01-Feb-2016
Publisher: UWA Publishing