Issue Details: First known date: 2008 2008
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Brian Castro is one of the most innovative and challenging novelists writing in English today. By virtue of his childhood migration from Hong Kong to Australia, he is an Australian writer, but he writes from the margins of what might be termed mainstream Australian literature. In an Australian context, Castro has been linked with Patrick White because like White he is an intellectual, deeply ironic, modernist writer. His writing can also be comfortably situated within a wider circle of (largely European) modernist works by Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Virginia Woolf, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, Gustav Flaubert, Vladimir Nabokov, W. G. Sebald, and the list goes on. Castro’s writing conducts richly intertextual conversations with these writers and their work.

'Castro’s writing is linguistically and structurally adventurous. He revels in the ability of good experimental writing to open up imaginative possibilities for the reader. He strives always to encourage his reader’s imagination to embrace heterogeneity and uncertainty. His extensive engagement with the great modernist writers of the 20th century, combined with his Australian-Chinese cross-cultural concerns make his work unique amongst Australian writers.

'Castro’s fiction is becoming increasingly recognized for its brilliance around the world. Readers and scholars, particularly from France, Germany and China, are discovering the delightful challenges and rewards his writing offers. In Australia, however, Castro’s writing has often been dismissed by academics and major publishing houses as being too cerebral or too literary. He has been labeled a writers’ writer because of the literariness of his concerns and the vast sweep of intertextual references that inform his narratives. Castro’s writing demands a committed, intelligent and passionate reader. He constructs narratives of absences, gaps, and multiple perspectives in the expectation that his reader will make the necessary imaginative connections and, in a sense, become the writer of his text. Castro has stated that the kind of novel he most enjoys reading is one he does not understand immediately, one that requires him to search out references and make discoveries. This is the kind of novel he writes. Perhaps, for this reason he has not attracted the large readership his work deserves.

'This study of Castro’s fiction has two major objectives: to open up multiple points of entry into Castro’s texts as a means of encouraging readers to make their own imaginative connections and to explore diverse ways of reading, as well as to initiate further published scholarly discussions and readings of Castro’s work.

'In this first critical study of Brian Castro’s work, Bernadette Brennan offers original and creative readings of Castro’s eight published novels. Brennan guides the reader through Castro’s elaborate semantics and at times dizzying language games to elucidate clearly Castro’s imaginative concerns and strategies. She opens up the many rhizomatic connections between Castro’s work and the multitude of texts and theorists that influence it and with whom it converses. And through all of this, she stays true to Castro’s imaginative project: to remain always open ended, always gesturing towards possibility rather than certainty and closure.

'Brian Castro’s Fiction is an important book for all literature and Australasian collections throughout the world.' (Publication summary)

Notes

  • Epigraph: '[W]riting itself is the desire for an emotional truth through a deceitful seduction of language'. -- Brian Castro (Barker 'Theory as Fireworks')
  • Includes bibliographical references.
  • Includes index.

Contents

* Contents derived from the Amherst, New York (State),
c
United States of America (USA),
c
Americas,
:
Cambria Press , 2008 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
'Birds of Passsage' : The Gift of Authorship, Bernadette Brennan , 2008 single work criticism
Brennan identifies an oblique reference made in Birds of Passage to a poem by Su Tung Po, a poet-painter exiled to South China at the end of the eleventh century. She aligns this with a previous reference in Castro's book to comment from historian Geoffrey Blainey on the abuse directed towards the Chinese on the goldfields in nineteenth-century Australia, making the point that 'Castro offers us the opportunity to contemplate how ancient Chinese poetry might converse with contemporary Australian writing and culture' (p. 31).
(p. 19-32)
'Pomeroy' : A Dialectic of Risk, Bernadette Brennan , 2008 single work criticism (p. 33-48)
'Double-Wolf' : Writing and Time, Now There's the Rub, Bernadette Brennan , 2008 single work criticism (p. 49-68)
Centres of Absence in 'After China', Bernadette Brennan , 2008 single work criticism (p. 69-93)
'Drift' : Storytelling and/of Annihilation, Bernadette Brennan , 2008 single work criticism (p. 95-122)
Writing of Death and Death of Writing in Brian Castro's Stepper, Bernadette Brennan , 2002 single work criticism (p. 123-146)
Lines of Exposure : 'Shanghai Dancing', Bernadette Brennan , 2008 single work criticism (p. 147-173)
Unpacking Castro's Library, or Detours and Return in 'The Garden Book', Bernadette Brennan , 2007 single work criticism
Brennan argues that while 'Castro's writing has always engaged obliquely with ethical concerns' there is a sense through the characters and dialogue of The Garden Book 'that the narrative, while remaining true to more abstract questions of writing, memory, desire and death, wants us to think deeply and urgently about the consequences of the politics of fear currently operating in Australia'.
(p. 175-190)
Blue Writers and the Invitation to Friendship, Bernadette Brennan , 2008 single work criticism (p. 191-193)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Amherst, New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Cambria Press , 2008 .
      Extent: viii, 219p.
      ISBN: 9781604975642 (alk. paper)
      Series: y Cambria Australian Literature Series Susan Lever (editor), Cambria Press (publisher), Amherst : Cambria Press , 2008- Z1869108 2008 series - publisher criticism

      The Cambria Australian Literature Series focuses on critical studies of writing by Australians, with a particular emphasis on contemporary Australian fiction. In recent decades Australian fiction publishing has outstripped critical study, with the work of many important writers receiving little more critical attention than newspaper and journal reviews, with occasional articles in scholarly journals or collections by diverse critics. This series gives an opportunity for sustained consideration of a writer’s full career. In each book, an individual critic engages with the work of a writer, assisting other scholars, students and general readers in understanding its complexities. Each book seeks to find an appropriate, original and lively approach to the writer in question. In particular, the series places the writing not only within Australian culture but also in the context of international developments in the novel.Source: Publisher's website.

Works about this Work

Untitled Nicholas Birns , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Reviews in Australian Studies , vol. 6 no. 1 2012; (p. 1-2)

— Review of Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism ; The Anthology of Colonial Australian Romance Fiction 2010 anthology short story extract
Castro's Adventure David Callahan , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 319 2010; (p. 27)

— Review of Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism
The Year's Work in Fiction: 2009-2010 Elizabeth Webby , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , July vol. 55 no. 1 2010; (p. 119-139)

— Review of Fear Factor : Terror Incognito 2009 anthology short story extract ; A True History of the Hula Hoop Judith Lanigan 2009 single work novel ; The World Beneath Cate Kennedy 2009 single work novel ; The Paperbark Shoe Goldie Goldbloom 2009 single work novel ; Swimming : A Novel Enza Gandolfo 2004 single work novel ; The Bath Fugues Brian Castro 2009 selected work novella ; The Lost Life Steven Carroll 2009 single work novel ; Rainforest Narratives : The Work of Janette Turner Hospital David Callahan 2009 single work criticism ; Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism ; Legacy Larissa Behrendt 2009 single work novel ; The Nature of Ice Robyn Mundy 2009 single work novel ; Lovesong Alex Miller 2009 single work novel ; Wonders of a Godless World Andrew McGahan 2009 single work novel ; Smoke in the Room Emily Maguire 2009 single work novel ; The Australian Long Story 2009 anthology short story prose novella autobiography ; Every Secret Thing Marie Munkara 2008 selected work short story ; Arrhythmia : Stories of Desire Richard Rossiter 2009 selected work short story ; The China Garden Kris Olsson 2009 single work novel ; Barley Patch Gerald Murnane 2009 single work novel ; Tom Hurstbourne, or, A Squatter's Life John Clavering Wood 2010 single work novel ; Truth Peter Temple 2009 single work novel ; The Window Seat Archie Weller 2009 selected work short story ; Headlong : A Novel Susan Varga 2009 single work novel ; The Legacy Kirsten Tranter 2010 single work novel
Untitled Tina Giannoukos , 2009-2010 single work review
— Appears in: Traffic , no. 11 2009-2010; (p. 186-188)

— Review of Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism
Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language by Bernadette Brennan Jacinta Van Den Berg , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 9 2009;

— Review of Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism
Untitled Tina Giannoukos , 2009-2010 single work review
— Appears in: Traffic , no. 11 2009-2010; (p. 186-188)

— Review of Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism
Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language by Bernadette Brennan Jacinta Van Den Berg , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 9 2009;

— Review of Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism
Castro's Adventure David Callahan , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 319 2010; (p. 27)

— Review of Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism
The Year's Work in Fiction: 2009-2010 Elizabeth Webby , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , July vol. 55 no. 1 2010; (p. 119-139)

— Review of Fear Factor : Terror Incognito 2009 anthology short story extract ; A True History of the Hula Hoop Judith Lanigan 2009 single work novel ; The World Beneath Cate Kennedy 2009 single work novel ; The Paperbark Shoe Goldie Goldbloom 2009 single work novel ; Swimming : A Novel Enza Gandolfo 2004 single work novel ; The Bath Fugues Brian Castro 2009 selected work novella ; The Lost Life Steven Carroll 2009 single work novel ; Rainforest Narratives : The Work of Janette Turner Hospital David Callahan 2009 single work criticism ; Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism ; Legacy Larissa Behrendt 2009 single work novel ; The Nature of Ice Robyn Mundy 2009 single work novel ; Lovesong Alex Miller 2009 single work novel ; Wonders of a Godless World Andrew McGahan 2009 single work novel ; Smoke in the Room Emily Maguire 2009 single work novel ; The Australian Long Story 2009 anthology short story prose novella autobiography ; Every Secret Thing Marie Munkara 2008 selected work short story ; Arrhythmia : Stories of Desire Richard Rossiter 2009 selected work short story ; The China Garden Kris Olsson 2009 single work novel ; Barley Patch Gerald Murnane 2009 single work novel ; Tom Hurstbourne, or, A Squatter's Life John Clavering Wood 2010 single work novel ; Truth Peter Temple 2009 single work novel ; The Window Seat Archie Weller 2009 selected work short story ; Headlong : A Novel Susan Varga 2009 single work novel ; The Legacy Kirsten Tranter 2010 single work novel
Untitled Nicholas Birns , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Reviews in Australian Studies , vol. 6 no. 1 2012; (p. 1-2)

— Review of Brian Castro's Fiction : The Seductive Play of Language Bernadette Brennan 2008 multi chapter work criticism ; The Anthology of Colonial Australian Romance Fiction 2010 anthology short story extract
Last amended 24 Nov 2016 06:34:52
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