Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y My Brother Jack : A Novel single work   novel  
Is part of Meredith Trilogy George Johnston 1964 series - author (number 1 in series)
Issue Details: First known date: 1964... 1964 My Brother Jack : A Novel
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''The thing I am trying to get at is what made Jack different from me. Different all through our lives, I mean, and in a special sense, not just older or nobler or braver or less clever.'

'David and Jack Meredith grow up in a patriotic suburban Melbourne household during the First World War, and go on to lead lives that could not be more different. Through the story of the two brothers, George Johnston created an enduring exploration of two Australian myths: that of the man who loses his soul as he gains worldly success, and that of the tough, honest Aussie battler, whose greatest ambition is to serve his country during the war. Acknowledged as one of the true Australian classics, My Brother Jack is a deeply satisfying, complex and moving literary masterpiece. ' (Publication summary)


form y My Brother Jack Charmian Clift , ( dir. Gil Brealey ) Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 Z896636 1965 series - publisher film/TV

An historical drama series set largely in the suburbs of Melbourne between the 1920s and World War II, much of the film's action centres on the lives of young Davey, his older brother Jack, and their family.


  • Also published in large print, braille and sound recording formats. Study notes also available.
  • The fictional printing company 'Klebendorf and Hardt' where David Meredith is apprenticed is modelled on the firm of Troedel and Cooper, where George Johnston was an apprentice in the 1930s.


* Contents derived from the Sydney,: Collins , 1987 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Introduction : My Brother Jack, Garry Kinnane , 1987 single work criticism (p. xiii-xix)
* Contents derived from the Pymble, Turramurra - Pymble - St Ives area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney,: Angus and Robertson , 1990 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Introduction, Brian Matthews , 1990 single work criticism
Matthews looks at the theme of death and life in the novel and its embodiment in the characters of David and Jack Meredith.
(p. v-xv)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Dreams of Hydra Susan Lever , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: Inside Story , October 2016;
The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the De-Sacralisation of the Nation Lars Jensen , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , no. 16 2016; (p. 74-85)

Richard Flanagan’s novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North represents yet another addition to the catalogue of Australian war experience literature. The awards and accompanying praise the novel has earned since its release in 2013 reflects a widespread appreciation of its ability to reimagine Australia in a saturated terrain. Flanagan’s novel can be read as a critique of the rise of militant nationalism emerging in the wake of Australia’s backing of Bush’s ‘war on terror’ and the idea that the arrival of boat refugees requires a military and militant response. This article discusses how the novel’s shift from battle heroics to the ordeal of POWs in the Thai jungle represents a reimagining – away from the preoccupation with epic battles – but not necessarily a challenge to the overriding emphasis on baptism of fire narratives as the only truly national narratives.

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The View from Above from Below : Novel, Suburb, Cosmos Brigid Rooney , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Humanities Review , November no. 60 2016;
'Taking the Flowery Bed Back to Australia' : The Repatriation of Charmian Clift and George Johnston Tanya Dalziell , Paul Genoni , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 1 June vol. 31 no. 3 2016;
'Since coming to national attention in the immediate post-World War II years Charmian Clift and George Johnston have remained an enigmatic and almost ‘mythical’ Australian literary couple. At the heart of their shared biographies is the near-decade they spent on the Aegean island of Hydra between 1955 and 1964 where they were at the centre of an international community of writers and artists, and their eventual repatriation to Australia when their years abroad culminated in the triumphant publication of Johnston’s classic novel My Brother Jack. This paper examines aspects of these years on Hydra, exploring the co-dependent but often difficult relationship the Clift and Johnston shared with other expatriates at the same time as their own marriage endured many crises amid the struggle to write fiction of lasting importance.'
The Past Is Not Sacred : A Dangerous Obsession with Anzac Peter Cochrane , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Griffith Review , April no. 48 2015; (p. 13-24)

'THE TERM ‘HISTORY wars’ is best known in Australia for summing up the fierce debate over the nature and extent of frontier conflict, with profound implications for the legitimacy of the British settlement and thus for national legitimacy today.

'That debate, though hardly resolved, is now taking something of a back seat to a public controversy focused on Australia’s wars of the twentieth century and particularly on the war of 1914–18, called the Great War until the Second World War redefined it as the First.' (Introduction)

Untitled Neil Jillett , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 10 May 2003; (p. 5)

— Review of My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston 1964 single work novel
Book Review: 'My Brother Jack' Daryl Douglas , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: North , October no. 3 1964; (p. 16)

— Review of My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston 1964 single work novel
A Review of "My Brother Jack" F. H. Mares , 1975 extract review (Recent Novels)
— Appears in: Australian Postwar Novelists : Selected Critical Essays 1975; (p. 52-56)

— Review of My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston 1964 single work novel
Between Two Wars Joyce Burnard , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 18 April vol. 86 no. 4391 1964; (p. 48)

— Review of Martin Place : A Novel D. H. Crick 1963 single work novel ; Be Ready with Bells and Drums Elizabeth Kata 1961 single work novel ; My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston 1964 single work novel
Two Ways of Writing a Novel Harry Payne Heseltine , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , June vol. 23 no. 2 1964; (p. 220-221)

— Review of Summer Peter Cowan 1964 single work novel ; My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston 1964 single work novel
The Suburbs: A Dream or Nightmare? James Button , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 21 August 2004; (p. 4)
The author re-read My Brother Jack and realises '...how much it defines a prevailing Australian intellectual and artistic attitude to suburbia.'
(Source: The Age, (Insight), 21 August 2004 p.4)
The Magic of Journalism in George Johnston's Fiction David Conley , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Studies in Journalism , no. 10-11 2002; (p. 106-134)
About 200 Australian journalists have written novels in the past two centuries. None has achieved wider popular acclaim than the dual Miles Franklin Award winner, George Johnston. In 1995 his novel My Brother Jack (1964) was named one of the 20th century's twelve most influential Australian books. In 1984, it was voted, by a wide margin, the best novel published in Australia since 1945. Yet Johnston's critical recognition has been comparatively sparse and there has been no detailed examination of how his journalism influenced his fiction. This article argues that Johnston's training and experience in journalism informed and enabled his fiction, thereby helping to shape Australia's national identity. Privileged by journalism's much misunderstood magic, his search for meaning in that identity helped to shape his own identity. In addressing that misunderstanding, this paper calls for a new interdisciplinary partnership between scholars in literature and journalism so that the journalistic inheritance in so many novels can be more comprehensively examined. (Author's abstract)
My Brother Jack : George Johnston (1912-1970) Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 172-176)
y Between the City and the Bush: Suburbia in the Contemporary Australian Novel Nathanael O'Reilly , Kalamazoo : 2008 Z1612172 2008 single work thesis 'Australia's most important national narratives take place in the bush, the outback, and overseas. The dominant representations of Australia, both within the nation and abroad, focus on the outback, the bush and the cities. However, Australia is one of the most suburban societies in the world, and has been since the mid-nineteenth-century. Nevertheless, Australian novels are rarely set in suburbia. Between the City and the Bush examines representations of suburbia in contemporary Australian novels. Focusing on the relationship between colonialism, the physical development of suburbia and the anti-suburban intellectual tradition, my chapters address a number of issues, including immigration, environmental degradation, Indigenous rights, non-indigenous belonging, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, sexuality, religion and spirituality, and the role of the artist in society. This dissertation outlines the history of the anti-suburban intellectual tradition within Australia, the connections between the British, American and Australian anti-suburban intellectual traditions, and the effect of the anti-suburban tradition on Australian literature and Australian literary criticism, before proceeding to analyze eleven novels. This project examines novels published between 1961 and 2005, demonstrating the establishment, development and perpetuation of the anti-suburban tradition in the Australian novel. The second and third chapters argue against the dominant critical perception of Patrick White's canonical novels Riders in the Chariot (1961) and The Solid Mandala (1966) as anti-suburban, contending that White's novels present suburbia ambivalently, including both celebratory and disparaging representations. I demonstrate that the anti-suburban tradition in the Australian novel was established by George Johnston with his classic novel My Brother Jack (1964), and show that the anti-suburban tradition was perpetuated throughout the following four decades by David Malouf, Tim Winton, Melissa Lucashenko and A.L. McCann. In the final two chapters, I argue that Gerald Murnane and Peter Carey reject the anti-suburban tradition and utilize suburbia as a setting for fictional experimentation and intensive engagement with social issues, demonstrating that suburbia, the site in which most Australian live, contains a wealth of subjects for novelists' (author's abstract).
Jack and George : Who Owns a Life? Chester Eagle , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Well in the Shadow : A Writer's Journey through Australian Literature 2010; (p. 12-29)

'A discussion of George Johnston's My Brother Jack in the light of two interviews with Jack and Pat Johnston on 29/7/1980 and 20/8/1980.' (Author's note.)

(Note: These interview tapes are held by the National Library of Australia; an abbreviated version of the interviews appears in Helix (1982).)

Last amended 3 Jun 2014 10:09:33
  • Melbourne, Victoria,
  • Urban,
  • 1920-1949
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