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Major Movements In Contemporary Prose (ENGL6937)
Semester 1 / 2015


The Flamethrowers
y separately published work icon The Swan Book Alexis Wright , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2013 Z1836223 2013 single work novel (taught in 14 units)

'The new novel by Alexis Wright, whose previous novel Carpentaria won the Miles Franklin Award and four other major prizes including the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award. The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning best-seller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon An Elegant Young Man Luke Carman , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2013 6591532 2013 selected work short story (taught in 6 units)

'For a long time Western Sydney has been the political flash-point of the nation, but it has been absent from Australian literature. Luke Carman’s first book of fiction is about to change all that: a collection of monologues and stories which tells it how it is on Australia’s cultural frontier. His young, self-conscious but determined hero navigates his way through the complications of his divorced family, and an often perilous social world, with its Fobs, Lebbbos, Greek, Serbs, Grubby Boys and scumbag Aussies, friends and enemies. He loves Whitman and Kerouac, Leonard Cohen and Henry Rollins, is awkward with girls, and has an invisible friend called Tom. His neighbour Wessam tells him he should write a book called How to Be Gay – and now he has. Carman’s style is packed with thought and energy: it captures the voices of the street, and conveys fear and anger, beauty and affection, with a restless intensity.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon The Tribe Michael Mohammed Ahmad , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2014 7186026 2014 selected work novella (taught in 5 units)

'The Tribe is a collection of three novellas portraying significant aspects in the life of an extended Muslim Lebanese-Australian family with its roots in the suburb of Lakemba in Western Sydney.The first novella describes the family house, and the three generations who live, often in some discord, in its rooms; the second explores the marriage of the boy’s uncle, and the threatened appearance of an estranged branch of the family at the ceremony. The third rounds off the circle, describing the death of the family matriarch, the boy’s grandmother. Together they offer an intimate insight into a community negotiating the conflict between tradition and modernity, and the complex tribal affiliations of the extended family.' (Publisher's blurb)

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
y separately published work icon The Mountain Drusilla Modjeska , North Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2012 Z1836166 2012 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

'In 1968 Papua New Guinea is on the brink of independence, and everything is about to change. Amidst the turmoil filmmaker Leonard arrives from England with his Dutch wife, Rika, to study and film an isolated village high in The Mountains. The villagers' customs and art have been passed down through generations, and Rika is immediately struck by their paintings on a cloth made of bark.

'Rika and Leonard are also confronted with the new university in Moresby, where intellectual ambition and the idealism of youth are creating friction among locals such as Milton - a hot-headed young playwright - and visiting westerners, such as Martha, to whom Rika becomes close. But it is when Rika meets brothers Jacob and Aaron that all their lives are changed for ever.' (From the publisher's website.)

In An Antique Land
y separately published work icon Child's Play David Malouf , New York (City) : Vintage , 1999 Z943097 1981 single work novella (taught in 5 units) 'In the streets of an ordinary Italian town, the people go about their everyday lives. In an old apartment block above them, a young man pores over photographs and plans, dedicated to his life's most important project. Day by day, in imagination, he is rehearsing for his greatest performance. Yet when his moment comes, nothing could have prepared him for what happens. . .' (Source: Publisher's website)
The City and the City


This unit introduces students to the rationale, principles and techniques of a selection of four major movements in contemporary prose (largely but not exclusively fiction), the particular movements in any one semester being dependent upon the expertise of the staff available. Sample components: the postmodern novel; ecritures feminines; magic realism; metafiction; contemporary realism; narrative non-fiction; ficto-criticism; the feminist detective; contemporary Australians; cyberfiction; life writing. Each movement is taught by way of two exemplary texts, one Australian and one drawn from other writing in the English language.