'George Gordon McCrae, father of Hugh, was a poet. In exotic isles he packed his portmanteau with double coco-nuts. His friends were like his coco-nuts, tropically rich in idiosyncrasies. Adam Lindsay Gordon, Henry Kendall, Marcus Clarke, John Shillinglaw, 'Orion' Horne - for us they are figures bathed in the lustre of literary fame, but here they talk and drink once again in the flesh, a gallant company of personalities. They lived in Melbourne in the olden days, before the wireless, newspapers, films, and motor cars, like the four wheels of the juggernaut, had flattened us out to a mechanical level. It was the pre-bowser age: men walked, drawing, like Antaeus, strength from the earth they touched. They rollicked in taverns, singing songs.
Here there are character sketches, random episodes, and anecdotes - odd pieces picked out from the mosaic of memory, retesselated, with their design still clear, their colours bright. Some of the episodes are poignant, such as Kendall's letter to George Gordon McCrae upon the death of Gordon. But most of them are amusing, as Marcus Clarke bravely puts his hand into the lion's mouth to leave his cigar there, and Montgomery in his bearskin coat looks as if he might give birth to a possum at any minute!..'(from Forward by T. Inglis Moore (q.v.))
A Reader's NotebookNettie Palmer,
1930single work criticism — Appears in:
All About Books,15 Julyvol.
71930;(p. 175-176)Palmer argues for greater attention to be paid Australia's literary heritage.
Also includes reviews of Book of the Knight of La Tour Laudry edited by Wyndham Lewis, books from the Everyman Library, Aino Kallas' The Wolf's Bride, Upton Sinclair's Mountain City, Edna Ferber's Cimarron and Degenerate Oxford? by Terrence Greenidge.