Remembering Babylon

Remembering Babylon

Book - 1993
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Winner of the IMPAC Award and Booker Prize nominee In this rich and compelling novel, written in language of astonishing poise and resonance, one of Australia's greatest living writers gives and immensely powerful vision of human differences and eternal divisions.  In the mid-1840s a thirteen-year-old British cabin boy, Gemmy Fairley, is cast ashore in the far north of Australia and taken in by aborigines. Sixteen years later he moves back into the world of Europeans, among hopeful yet terrified settlers who are staking out their small patch of home in an alien place. To them, Gemmy stands as a different kind of challenge: he is a force that at once fascinates and repels. His own identity in this new world is as unsettling to him as the knowledge he brings to others of the savage, the aboriginal. "Breathtaking...To read this remarkable book is to remember Babylon well, whether you think you've been there or not." --The New York Times Book Review From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 1993
ISBN: 9780394280073
0394280075
9780679749516
0679749519
Branch Call Number: FIC Malou 3206 01
Characteristics: 202 p

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sgcf
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.

u
uncommonreader
Jan 04, 2013

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

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