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The author examines the writing of Peter Craven. He criticises Craven's reviews of Australian works stating that 'one finds sweeping statements and bland generalities, but little evidence of an intimate, first-hand knowledge of 'the canon', or even much feeling for literature.'
McCann responds to suggestions that 'Australian fiction is struggling, sales are woeful' and the attendant 'demoralisation' of writers. McCann claims that writers are unwilling to alienate readers and therefore produce a homogenous national literature 'incapable of questioning its institutional or ideological functions.' Given this scenario, McCann says that an 'avant-garde' style seems impossible. 'In the meantime, complaints about the mediocre state of Australian literature are like hungry rumblings from the belly of the beast - the structures constantly calling out for innovative Australian writing are the very structures that impede its development.'