'Alex Miller has written a 600-page autobiographical novel. He hopes no one has a problem with that, as he tells Stephen Romei.' (Introduction)
'In the mid-20th century, Hungarian-born psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim popularised the theory that autism was caused by 'refrigerator mothers': cold, unfeeling parents who pushed their children into an isolated state.' (Introduction)
'There was a time when being both a writer and someone’s wife was such a vexed combination that the reality of it proved nearly impossible, and countless books went unwritten.' (Introduction)
'In the European imagination, Australia was on the map long before it was a geographic reality. Terra Australis Incognita was the imagined counterweight to the northern hemisphere landmasses, a grey plate plonked at the bottom of cartographers’ efforts centuries before Dirk Hartog nailed his up at Shark Bay. Even when Europeans arrived in Australia, they acceded to this prefabricated idea: superimposing imported place names and laying down arbitrary internal borders, ruler-straight for thousands of kilometres, over an immemorial atlas created by 500 clan groups or “nations”, whose traditional lands were delineated by boundaries that had nothing to do with bureaucratic fiat.' (Introduction)
'A visitor from Mars could be forgiven for asking what is it with this woman, this drover’s wife?
'It’s now 150 years since Henry Lawson was born. In 1892, The Bulletin published his short story, The Drover’s Wife. This year, Leah Purcell won the NSW Premier’s Award for the best book for her startling play The Drover’s Wife. Also this year, Australia Post issued a stamp celebrating The Drover’s Wife. In 1945, Russell Drysdale painted The Drover’s Wife. In 1975, Murray Bail wrote a story, The Drover’s Wife. In 1980, Frank Moorhouse wrote a story, The Drover’s Wife. And that’s not the half of it.'