Granta 70: Australia ~ The New New World – Edited by Ian Jack

Inspired by Granta 84: Over There: How America Sees the Rest of the World, I decided to sample the 2000 collection of writings on Australia. The presence of Tim Winton’s Aquifer was an indication that I’d find at least one item I liked, and so it turned out. As with the American collection, the mixture of photos, fact and fiction takes a little getting used to, but it’s worth the (small) effort, and keeps the brain flexible. The geographic range was a pleasant surprise, as in Olypmic year it would have been all too easy to focus on the eastern seaboard. As it was, Sydney doesn’t get much of a look in as a setting, and there are plenty of tales from the red Centre, the far North and the (allegedly) remote West.

The characters, factual and fictional, reflect Australia’s cultural diversity, and the Polly Borland’s Grog provided a greater insight into Melborne’s aboriginal community than my visits to Australia ever brought. That said, reading through the collection did provide the odd occasion for nostalgia.

My favourite piece in the whole book was Ben Rice’s Pobby and Dingan, and I’m going to check out Amazon to see what else he’s written.

Buy it: Amazon link