Friday, 1 September 2006

Started on Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Helen Garner yesterday evening. Despite my study workload, I’m treating myself to this book, stretching my own patience with myself and indulging in the activity I enjoy the most: reading. I’m going to read more of it this afternoon – my ‘free-Friday’ as I’ve come to call it (two hours’ study leave a week approved by my employer).

From the outset, Garner places herself in the middle of the narrative. Her recent marital breakdown and subsequent depression, her experience with an earlier work of non-fiction, The First Stone, her conversations with the young journalists in the Canberra courtroom – all these aspects of her life come to the fore. Her reactions to the people involved in the murder and its aftermath, are visible to the reader. In fact, she uses them to increase the sense of drama in the narrative, unfolding her feelings in minute detail to show us how crime can affect a rational being.

I really should get back to studying up on the early eighteenth century – the period when Daniel Defoe was active – but I just felt too tired last night after class.

The class was interesting, as always. I can’t express adequately how much I’m enjoying this course. It’s truly wonderful to be able to mix it with these bright, young people and the wise old tutor (? He’s probably not much older than I am – sigh!). We discussed profiles yesterday. One of our readings was Gay Talese’s Frank Sinatra Has a Cold. Now, I’m just not a big fan of American crooners, but Talese’s work is superb. He drags himself back from the narrative and gives all the room to Sinatra, while jumping around in time, giving us the big picture. A wonderful article.

Another was Antonella Gambotto’s profile of the AFL footballer Warwick Capper and his wife Joanne. This I enjoyed immensely. Imagine a hybrid cross between Kath & Kim and Paris Hilton, with a dash of the Beckhams thrown in. Fab-o.

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