Remembering Babylon

Remembering Babylon

Book - 1993
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David Malouf's novel -- shortlisted for the 1993 Booker Prize -- is a masterpiece. In the mid-1840s, a thirteen year old boy is cast ashore in the far north of Australia and taken in by aborigines. Sixteen years later, when settlers reach the area, he moves back into the world of Europeans, men and women who are staking out their small patch of security in an alien, half-mythological land, hopeful yet terrified of what it might do to them.
Publisher: New York : Vintage/Random House, c1993.
ISBN: 9780394280431
Branch Call Number: FIC Malou
Characteristics: 200 pages


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Shortlisted for the Man Booker, this classic novel tells the story of Australia's history with colonization, settlers, and the native Aborigine.

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Apr 17, 2017

Malouf explores some eternal themes in this historical fiction set in rough and recently settled Australia – cultural splits, communication, identity, a sense of displacement, and Us vs Them. It asks: what is the essence of belonging, and is an equally violent and compassionate look at the complex individual responses to a British boy raised by aboriginals who finds white settlers 16 years later. A psychological study. Usually I like lyrical writing and I did admire Malouf’s poetic prose. But I struggled with the long sentences of many subordinate clauses to the point where, when I got to the end of the sentence many lines further down, I’d have to double check to see the subject and verb. Sad. A measure of our accelerated twittified society.
A favourite quote: ”She loved the way, while you were dealing with them, you had to submit yourself to their side of things”, referring to the bees but metaphorically to the black / white cultural issue.

Jan 04, 2013

This is the story of an edge of the world encounter between the "primitive" and "civilized". Brilliant.

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