Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thomas Keneally shipwrecked

Tom was on Desert Island Discs this morning. I got used to his voice through a saga of phone-calls in the build-up to getting Bullie's House on: nice to hear him again. By a funny coincidence, today I also finished reading his novel A Family Madness, which is a journey into deeply disturbing material across two parallel narratives - one in contemporary Australia, the other around the Belorussian involvement in World War Two. This is characteristic of Tom, and one of the things which drew me to his work in the first place: he's very much aware of the interdependence of seemingly discreet spheres of operation - the way in which global history affects each and every life, however parochial it may seem to others, and indeed to itself. Bullie's House was set on a remote mission station - and was about the great spiritual and political questions of our time. At one point in the BBC interview, Tom says: "The best stories happen on the fault lines between races and cultures". That could be the motto of Border Crossings.

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