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Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Labour That Holds Us Together : Common People by Tony Birch
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'I had read criticism of Tony Birch’s short story collection Common People before I read the book itself. I had heard the author speak on national radio, stumbled across reviews and read literary journal articles. What I quickly gleaned from the commentary was that Birch has ‘compassion’ and his common people are ‘resilient’. I read the book and I could not disagree. Some of the stories in Common People are based on Birch’s own personal experiences, but all of them display a striking intimacy with the lingua franca of grit, scrabble, labour. They are stories about mundane and quotidian lives on the margins of Australian society. Other critics asked: what keeps his characters going in the face of hardship? Sometimes it is alcohol, sometimes it is humour, sometimes it is small acts of kindness. All of these things allow Birch’s downtrodden to find ways to live another day. Often the hardship his characters face is structural and the forces they struggle against are greater than themselves. Power is out there. Yet it manifests in particular ways, and oppressing individuals in ways that are specific to their lives.'  (Introduction)

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Last amended 21 May 2018 09:19:11
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