769421594497209359.jpg
This image has been sourced from UWA Library
659093623199511715.jpg
Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y A Fortunate Life single work   autobiography  
Issue Details: First known date: 1980 1980
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Born in 1894, Albert Facey lived the rough frontier life of a sheep farmer, survived the gore of Gallipoli, raised a family through the Depression and spent sixty years with his beloved wife, Evelyn. Despite enduring hardships we can barely imagine today, Facey always saw his life as a "fortunate" one. A true classic of Australian literature, his simply written autobiography is an inspiration. It is the story of a life lived to the full – the extraordinary journey of an ordinary man.' (Penguin Australia abstract)

Adaptations

form y A Fortunate Life Ken Kelso , Australia : PBL Productions , 1986 Z1825058 1985 series - publisher film/TV

Mini-series based on the best-selling autobiography by A.B. Facey, tracing his life from the late nineteenth century through Gallipoli and into marriage, fatherhood, and later life.

The mini-series was successful on Australian television, but Moran is unflattering in his appraisal: 'The mini-series was in effect a lovingly authentic visual and aural recreation of the novel. The trouble was that what was a pleasure to read on the printed page was pretty much insufferably boring to watch on screen. The narrative was far too anecdotal and the performances of brothers Dominic and Benedict Sweeney as Facey were dull.'

y A. B. Facey's A Fortunate Life Clem Gorman , Paddington : Harvest Theatre Company Currency Press , 1987 Z858978 1987 single work drama biography

Notes

  • Dedication: I dedicate this book to the memory of my wife, Evelyn. It was her patience and understanding which made it become a reality.
  • Dramatised in 1984 by Clem Gorman for a production by the Melbourne Theatre Company.
  • Adapted for the 1985 film A Fortunate Life directed by Henri Safran. Screenplay by Ken Kelso.
  • Selected in December 2004 by the Australian public in an ABC poll as Australia's tenth favourite book.
  • Ranked #3 in ABC1's First Tuesday Book Club '10 Aussie Books to Read Before You Die' 2012 voting ballot.
  • Manuscript copies of A Fortunate Life are held at the University of Western Australia Library. Other papers relating to Facey are located at the J. S. Battye Library, State Library of Western Australia, including the publishing agreement with Fremantle Arts Centre Press and a copy of Facey's last will and testament.
  • Other formats: Also sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      ca. 1980 .
      769421594497209359.jpg
      This image has been sourced from UWA Library
      Extent: 1 boxp.
      (Manuscript) assertion
      Note/s:
      • Donated by John Rose, 1985

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Western Australia Library
      Local Id: MS0046
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2013 .
      659093623199511715.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 212p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 21 August 2013
      ISBN: 9780670076895
    • Fremantle, Fremantle area, South West Perth, Perth, Western Australia,: Fremantle Press , 1981 .
      1707094087354539705.jpg
      This image has been sourced from UWA Library
      Extent: 326p.
      Description: illus., maps, port.
      Note/s:
      • This version illustrated by Robert Juniper.
      ISBN: 0909144370 (hbk.), 0909144508 (pbk.)
    • Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 1981 .
      94841030662689210.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 326p.
      Description: illus., maps, port.
      ISBN: 0140081674
    • Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Viking , 1985 .
      834792684280524303.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 168p.
      Description: illus., facsims., ports.
      Note/s:
      • Published 1 July 1985
      ISBN: 9780140320091
    • Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2002 .
      6660813292218202134.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 330p.
      Edition info: Jacketed ed.
      Description: illus., maps, port.
      ISBN: 0734305109
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2005 .
      4070196767346956143.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: x, 422p.p.
      Edition info: Rev. ed.
      Description: illus., map, ports
      Note/s:
      • Includes afterword by Jan Carter (pp. 413-421).
      ISBN: 9780143003540
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2014 .
      4657009066446027079.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 511p.
      Note/s:
      • Published: 19/11/2014
      ISBN: 9780143571537
      Series: y Penguin Australian Classics Melbourne : Penguin , 2013- 8224044 2013 series - publisher

Works about this Work

The Naked Anzac : Exposure and Concealment in A.B. Facey's A Fortunate Life Ffion Murphy , Richard Nile , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 75 no. 3 2016; (p. 219-237)
Murphy and Nile discuss Albert Facey's autobiography A Fortunate Life and his experiences of war.
Books That Changed Me : Saeed Fassaie Saeed Fassaie , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 20 September 2015; (p. 12) The Sun-Herald , 20 September 2015; (p. 12)
Wounded Storyteller : Revisiting Albert Facey's Rortunate Life Ffion Murphy , Richard Nile , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Westerly , vol. 60 no. 2 2015; (p. 87-100)
Books That Changed Me : Kathryn Ledson Kathryn Ledson , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 6 April 2014; (p. 13)
Book Review – A Fortunate Life by A B Facey Joanne Peulen , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Booklover Book Reviews 2014;

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
Celebrating Great Australian Writing : First Tuesday Book Club 2013 single work column
— Appears in: InCite , 1 January vol. 34 no. 1/2 2013; (p. 18-20)
Our Cup Runneth Over : Life-Stories from Fremantle Go National Per Henningsgaard , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Telling Stories : Australian Life and Literature 1935–2012 2013; (p. 431-436)
The Books that Changed Me : Amber Scott Amber Scott , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 8 April 2012; (p. 18)
Readers' Choice : Tales of Sensation and Sentiment 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 13 May 2012; (p. 17)
Word on the Street 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 13 May 2012; (p. 17)
What’s Missing in This Picture? : The ‘Middle Parts of Fortune’ in Australian Great War Literature Clare Rhoden , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Philament : Borders, Regions, Worlds , August no. 16 2010; (p. 21-33)
'Disillusionment as a style of war fiction, with its characteristic debunking of old- fashioned glorious-war notions, owes its prominence more to the post-war, depression-oppressed mood of the 1930s than to the war's factual history. Soldier authors such as Sassoon, Graves and Aldington followed Remarque's popular All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) with their own reminiscences, part auto-biography, part imagination, and wholly literary. With an emphasis on the terrible conditions and the devastating experiences of sensitive individual protagonists, the disenchanted novels of the Great War canon expose war's futility and horror. The disenchantment perspective is generally summarised as the culpable sacrifice of idealistic young men by war-mongering politicians and profiteers. Its tropes are the Western Front trench, mud, shellshock, summary executions and the ruin of a generation. Although recent historical and literary analyses have demonstrated errors, exaggerations and misunderstandings in these clichés, popular memory still prefers disillusion. So indeed does current literary fiction set in the period.' (p. 2)
Black and White : In Search of an ‘Apt’ Response to Indigenous Writing Robin Freeman , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT : The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs , October vol. 14 no. 2 2010;
'The good editor,' suggests Thomas McCormack in his Fiction Editor, the Novel and the Novelist, 'reads, and ... responds aptly' to the writer's work, 'where "aptly" means "as the ideal appropriate reader would".' McCormack develops an argument that encompasses the dual ideas of sensibility and craft as essential characteristics of the fiction editor. But at an historical juncture that has seen increasing interest in the publication of Indigenous writing, and when Indigenous writers themselves may envisage a multiplicity of readers (writing, for instance, for family and community, and to educate a wider white audience), who is the 'ideal appropriate reader' for the literary works of the current generation of Australian Indigenous writers? And what should the work of this 'good editor' be when engaging with the text of an Indigenous writer? This paper examines such questions using the work of Margaret McDonell and Jennifer Jones, among others, to explore ways in which non-Indigenous editors may apply aspects of McCormack's 'apt response' to the editing of Indigenous texts.' (Author's abstract)
'My Father's Knife' : Autobiography as Hermeneutic Phenomenology Jack Bowers , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Life Writing , December vol. 7 no. 3 2010; (p. 317-323)
The Mists of Time and the Fog of War : A Fortunate Life and A.B. Facey's Gallipoli Experience James Hurst , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Melbourne Historical Journal , no. 38 2010; (p. 73-88)
'Bert Facey's autobiographical A Fortunate Life has been described as, '[a] true classic o Australian literature, his simply written autobiography...an inspiration. It is the story of a life lived to the full - the extraordinary journey of an ordinary man'. In 1981 Peter Shrubb found the book 'a rich pleasure'; twenty-six years later, it was included in Gleeson-White's Australian Classics. One field of thought suggests that A Fortunate Life is only partly autobiographical, much of it consisting of stories acquired over the years, in the tradition of a master story-teller passing on yarns acquired by many fire sides. Jan Carter wrote that Facey's 'family knew these tales well before they read the book. The stories were told and re-told as family history for six decades or more'. Wendy Capper indentifies many characteristics of traditional oral story-telling, oral story-telling and folktale in Facey's writing, without criticising their relationship to the facts of his life. Others have been less accepting. Carolyn See, in an article published in The New York Times, wrote that 'Joan Newman of Curtin University at Perth, has it in for Mr. Facey's book...she thinks his memoirs of his outback life are one big lie, right down to the title.' (p. 73)
Local Classics Belle Taylor , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 12 September 2009; (p. 12)

— Review of Cloudstreet Tim Winton 1991 single work novel ; Sixty Lights Gail Jones 2004 single work novel ; Gilgamesh : A Novel Joan London 2001 single work novel ; The Shark Net : Memories and Murder Robert Drewe 2000 single work autobiography ; A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography ; The Well Elizabeth Jolley 1986 single work novel ; The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea Randolph Stow 1965 single work novel
On My Bedside Table Paul Rogers , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 19 January 2008; (p. 26)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography ; Islands of Angry Ghosts Hugh Edwards 1966 single work ; Highway to Hell : The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott Clinton Walker 1994 single work biography
On My Bedside Table Graham Edwards , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 1 March 2008; (p. 28)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography ; Outlaws of the Leopolds Ion L. Idriess 1952 single work non-fiction
A Fortunate Life : A B Facey (1894-1982) Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 124-128)
Bookmaker's Diary Clive Newman , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: Australian Bookseller & Publisher , October vol. 84 no. 4 2004; (p. 20)
No-Man's-Land Has Two Sides : A View for Children of Gallipoli, 1915, from the Turkish and Australian Trenches John Foster , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Bookbird , vol. 41 no. 4 2003; (p. 21-27)
Examines books dealing with the same campaign, reflecting the feelings of people whose ancestors fought that battle nearly ninety years ago
On My Bedside Table Paul Rogers , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 19 January 2008; (p. 26)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography ; Islands of Angry Ghosts Hugh Edwards 1966 single work ; Highway to Hell : The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott Clinton Walker 1994 single work biography
On My Bedside Table Graham Edwards , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 1 March 2008; (p. 28)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography ; Outlaws of the Leopolds Ion L. Idriess 1952 single work non-fiction
Local Classics Belle Taylor , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 12 September 2009; (p. 12)

— Review of Cloudstreet Tim Winton 1991 single work novel ; Sixty Lights Gail Jones 2004 single work novel ; Gilgamesh : A Novel Joan London 2001 single work novel ; The Shark Net : Memories and Murder Robert Drewe 2000 single work autobiography ; A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography ; The Well Elizabeth Jolley 1986 single work novel ; The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea Randolph Stow 1965 single work novel
A Good, Hard Life Put to Paper Elizabeth Riddell , 1981 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 1 September vol. 101 no. 5278 1981; (p. 94,97)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
Cobbett and Facey Peter Shrubb , 1981 single work review
— Appears in: Quadrant , November vol. 25 no. 11 1981; (p. 39-42)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
Portrait of Australia's Heart, Without Veils Thelma Forshaw , 1981 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 29 August 1981; (p. 30)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
Documentation of Myth Jan Morice , 1982 single work review
— Appears in: Island Magazine , March no. 9/10 1982; (p. 92-93)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
[Untitled] Dorothy Collin , 1982 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , March vol. 27 no. 1 1982; (p. 109-113)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography ; Nothing to Spare : Recollections of Australian Pioneering Women 1981 anthology single work autobiography
Classic in Boxed Edition Hope Hewitt , 1983 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 26 November 1983; (p. 19)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
Untitled Michael Wilding , 1986 single work review
— Appears in: London Review of Books , vol. 8 no. 8 1986; (p. 18)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
A Fortunate Life 1989 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 10 October 1989; (p. 38)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
Powerful Emotional Impact Stephen Payne , 1981 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 10 October 1981; (p. 13)

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography

Payne concludes his review: 'Reading A Fortunate Life is a humbling, educational experience. The early chapters describe an Australia I have never seen so close up before. The Gallipoli section is a haunting portrait of man gone mad. From what follows one can draw Facey's prescription for a fortunate life – family love, and hard, satisfying work.'

Book Review – A Fortunate Life by A B Facey Joanne Peulen , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Booklover Book Reviews 2014;

— Review of A Fortunate Life A. B. Facey 1980 single work autobiography
Categorical Infringement : Australian Prose in the Eighties Carolyn Bliss , 1991 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Narrative Technique , Winter vol. 21 no. 1 1991; (p. 43-51)
Turning Full Circle Lindy Brophy , 1991 single work column
— Appears in: Fremantle Arts Review , August vol. 6 no. 8 1991; (p. 12-13)
Bookmaker's Diary Clive Newman , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: Australian Bookseller & Publisher , October vol. 84 no. 4 2004; (p. 20)
The 'Fortunate' and the 'Imagined' : Landscape, Myth and Created Self in A. B. Facey and David Malouf Heather Wearne , 1992 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Making of a Pluralist Australia 1950-1990: Selected Papers from the Inaugural EASA Conference 1991 1992; (p. 149-160)
A Fortunate Life : A B Facey (1894-1982) Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 124-128)
No-Man's-Land Has Two Sides : A View for Children of Gallipoli, 1915, from the Turkish and Australian Trenches John Foster , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Bookbird , vol. 41 no. 4 2003; (p. 21-27)
Examines books dealing with the same campaign, reflecting the feelings of people whose ancestors fought that battle nearly ninety years ago
What’s Missing in This Picture? : The ‘Middle Parts of Fortune’ in Australian Great War Literature Clare Rhoden , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Philament : Borders, Regions, Worlds , August no. 16 2010; (p. 21-33)
'Disillusionment as a style of war fiction, with its characteristic debunking of old- fashioned glorious-war notions, owes its prominence more to the post-war, depression-oppressed mood of the 1930s than to the war's factual history. Soldier authors such as Sassoon, Graves and Aldington followed Remarque's popular All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) with their own reminiscences, part auto-biography, part imagination, and wholly literary. With an emphasis on the terrible conditions and the devastating experiences of sensitive individual protagonists, the disenchanted novels of the Great War canon expose war's futility and horror. The disenchantment perspective is generally summarised as the culpable sacrifice of idealistic young men by war-mongering politicians and profiteers. Its tropes are the Western Front trench, mud, shellshock, summary executions and the ruin of a generation. Although recent historical and literary analyses have demonstrated errors, exaggerations and misunderstandings in these clichés, popular memory still prefers disillusion. So indeed does current literary fiction set in the period.' (p. 2)
Black and White : In Search of an ‘Apt’ Response to Indigenous Writing Robin Freeman , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT : The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs , October vol. 14 no. 2 2010;
'The good editor,' suggests Thomas McCormack in his Fiction Editor, the Novel and the Novelist, 'reads, and ... responds aptly' to the writer's work, 'where "aptly" means "as the ideal appropriate reader would".' McCormack develops an argument that encompasses the dual ideas of sensibility and craft as essential characteristics of the fiction editor. But at an historical juncture that has seen increasing interest in the publication of Indigenous writing, and when Indigenous writers themselves may envisage a multiplicity of readers (writing, for instance, for family and community, and to educate a wider white audience), who is the 'ideal appropriate reader' for the literary works of the current generation of Australian Indigenous writers? And what should the work of this 'good editor' be when engaging with the text of an Indigenous writer? This paper examines such questions using the work of Margaret McDonell and Jennifer Jones, among others, to explore ways in which non-Indigenous editors may apply aspects of McCormack's 'apt response' to the editing of Indigenous texts.' (Author's abstract)
'My Father's Knife' : Autobiography as Hermeneutic Phenomenology Jack Bowers , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Life Writing , December vol. 7 no. 3 2010; (p. 317-323)
The Mists of Time and the Fog of War : A Fortunate Life and A.B. Facey's Gallipoli Experience James Hurst , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Melbourne Historical Journal , no. 38 2010; (p. 73-88)
'Bert Facey's autobiographical A Fortunate Life has been described as, '[a] true classic o Australian literature, his simply written autobiography...an inspiration. It is the story of a life lived to the full - the extraordinary journey of an ordinary man'. In 1981 Peter Shrubb found the book 'a rich pleasure'; twenty-six years later, it was included in Gleeson-White's Australian Classics. One field of thought suggests that A Fortunate Life is only partly autobiographical, much of it consisting of stories acquired over the years, in the tradition of a master story-teller passing on yarns acquired by many fire sides. Jan Carter wrote that Facey's 'family knew these tales well before they read the book. The stories were told and re-told as family history for six decades or more'. Wendy Capper indentifies many characteristics of traditional oral story-telling, oral story-telling and folktale in Facey's writing, without criticising their relationship to the facts of his life. Others have been less accepting. Carolyn See, in an article published in The New York Times, wrote that 'Joan Newman of Curtin University at Perth, has it in for Mr. Facey's book...she thinks his memoirs of his outback life are one big lie, right down to the title.' (p. 73)
Inside Publishing : The Environments of the Publishing House Albert Moran , 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: Continuum : The Australian Journal of Media & Culture , vol. 4 no. 1 1990;
'A sketch of the book industry might situate publishing as an intermediate step in the chain that carries the book from author to reader. In fact, publishers are more dynamic figures in the whole process than such a view allows. Publishers and publishing houses are the most powerful group in the industry. Some publishing houses are geared to the mass market book while others focus on books with a more limited readership market. What the author-reader view ignores is the push-pull of competition and co-operation between publishers and its effect on the book industry.' (Author's abstract)
The Books that Changed Me : Amber Scott Amber Scott , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 8 April 2012; (p. 18)
Readers' Choice : Tales of Sensation and Sentiment 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 13 May 2012; (p. 17)
Word on the Street 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 13 May 2012; (p. 17)
Literature and Politics - The Repressive Hypothesis Stephen Muecke , 1992 single work criticism
— Appears in: Textual Spaces : Aboriginality and Cultural Studies 1992; (p. 119-138)
'This chapter will have two interconnected themes. The first will deal with the theoretical problem of 'expression', as part of a literary aesthetic. The main question here will be posed in terms of Aboriginal literature. How can we determine to what extent it is the expression of political activity as has so often been claimed? What can we learn from the case of Aboriginal literature which may in some way contribute to ongoing literature/politics debates?

The second theme will examine on particular genre, autobiography, and two specific books. Out of what historical and social context did My Place and Wandering Girl emerge? What sort of political valency can be attached to them in their conditions of production and consumption?' (119)
Celebrating Great Australian Writing : First Tuesday Book Club 2013 single work column
— Appears in: InCite , 1 January vol. 34 no. 1/2 2013; (p. 18-20)
A Hero Not of Our Time David Stove , 1988 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Quadrant , May vol. 32 no. 5 1988; (p. 40-43)
The Public Funding of Literature Nancy Keesing , 1987 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Quadrant , March vol. 31 no. 3 1987; (p. 5)
Fact or Fiction David Noakes , 1986 single work criticism
— Appears in: Fremantle Arts Review , April vol. 1 no. 4 1986; (p. 7)
Facey's A Fortunate Life and Traditional Oral Narratives Wendy Capper , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , May vol. 13 no. 3 1988; (p. 266-281)
Last amended 9 Mar 2015 10:47:13
Settings:
  • c
    Australia,
    c
  • c
    Turkey,
    c
    Middle East, Asia,
  • Kalgoorlie, Goldfields area, Southeast Western Australia, Western Australia,
  • 1890s
  • 1900-1999
Explore:
8238805
8222093
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X