Kangaroo, set in Australia, is D. H. Lawrence's eighth novel. He wrote the first draft in just forty-five days while living south of Sydney, in 1922, and revised it three months later in New Mexico. The descriptions of the country are among the most vivid and sympathetic ever penned, and the book fuses lightly disguised autobiography with an exploration of political ideas at an immensely personal level. His anxiety about the future of democracy, caught as it was in the turbulent cross currents of fascism and socialism, is only partly appeased by his vision of a new bond of comradeship between men based on their unique separateness. Lawrence's alter ego Richard Somers departs for America to continue his search.
'Adapted from D.H. Lawrence's story of love, violence and political intrigue, based on his personal experiences in Australia in 1922. 'Kangaroo' - the code name of the charismatic leader of a secret fascist army - brings all his dark power to bear to seduce the writer into embracing his ideas, but the writer and his wife find strength in their love reawakened in the exotic southern land.'
Source: Screen Australia.
'Set in Australia in 1922, Kangaroo tells the story of English writer Lovat and his wife, who arrive in Sydney in search of a new life.'
Radio Times, 2 March 2000, p.124.
'‘Suburban space, the novel and Australian modernity’ focuses on the dynamic interaction between suburbs and suburbia as this emerges in a century-long series of Australian novels – in works by Christina Stead, George Johnston, Elizabeth Harrower, Patrick White, Christos Tsiolkas and many other twentieth-century and contemporary writers. It puts the often trenchantly anti-suburban rhetoric found in these novels in dialogue with their evocative rendering of suburban place and time.
'In the process, ‘Suburban space, the novel and Australian modernity’ rethinks perennial literary and cultural debates about suburbia – in Australia and elsewhere. It does so by putting fictional ‘suburbs’ (their multitude of imagined interiors, homes, streets, forms and lives over time) into dialogue with cosmopolitan resistance towards the very idea of ‘suburbia’ as an amnesic and conformist cultural wasteland. ‘Suburban space, the novel and Australian modernity’ explores the generative collision produced in novels between the sensory remembered terrain of the primal suburb and wider cultural critiques of suburbia. It is through such contradictions that novels create resonant mental maps of suburban place and time. Australian novels, in other words, serve as a prism through which suburbs – real and imagined, remembered and utterly transformed – can be glimpsed sidelong.
'‘Suburban space, the novel and Australian modernity’ is a coinage that highlights both the persistence and the renovation of literary forms by means of the suburb. The suburbs prompt writers to experiment with the forms of the novel. The very scale of the suburb is productive, enabling narratives to slide readily from microcosm to macrocosm, from the domestic interior to the globe. Like suburbia, the novel is a form that is both generic and specific, circulating transnationally yet taking root locally. The term ‘retro’ also refers to acts of narrative retrospection. Novels about suburbs often play with time, looking into the past in order to summon what is lost. ‘Retro-Suburbia’ enacts a retrospective of Australian literary suburbia that reorients understanding of the political, cultural and literary significance of the suburbs.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'The Silvery Freedom ... and the Horrible Paws is the story of how DH Lawrence's 8th major novel, Kangaroo, was composed and written. The title refers to Lawrence's realisation - half-way through writing the book - that he had stumbled on a secret para-military organisation in Australia in 1922. "It was as if," he wrote in Kangaroo, "the silvery freedom suddenly turned, and showed the scaly back of a reptile, and the horrible paws."
'This is a story that many people and interests tried to prevent coming out. It reveals the fascist underbelly of post-WW1 Australian society and politics.
'It is the second volume of the author's Lawrence's 99 Days in Australia, which together tell the story of how the 20th-century's most controversial author came to write his most surprising work of "fiction".' (Publication summary)
'The Quest for Cooley is the story of the 40-year search for the identity of the real life figure that DH Lawrence portrayed as the Australian political leader Benjamin Cooley in his 1923 Australian novel, Kangaroo. Through his intensive research in Australia and overseas, Robert Darroch, a former investigative journalist on The Bulletin, discovered that Lawrence ran across an actual secret army in Sydney in 1922, and unmasked it in his novel of Australia. This is a story that many people and interests have tried to prevent coming out. It exposes the fascist underbelly - what Lawrence called "the horrible paws" - of post-WW1 Australian society and politics.' (Publication summary)