Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Marion May Campbell - Shadow Thief
This is not so much a roller coaster of a book as two. It traces the lives of two young girls as they grow into adulthood, one from a dull middle class family but bright and rebellious, the other thrust by her mother’s uncertainties into a bizarre quasi-familial relationship with the creepy Doctor Lancaster and his family as they leave Australia to live in England and travel the Continent. In his narcissism Lancaster is reminiscent of the father in Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children, but the budding artist here is the rebel against conformity, not the offspring of an atypical background. The novel deftly and convincingly upturns our expectations at a number of points, and the ending leaves us both uncertain and immensely satisfied. Marion May Campbell is a dazzling stylist, and the energy and pulse (the book’s terms) of her prose welds these two stories into a fascinating unity.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Fragments from a Paper Witch by Marion May Campbell (Salt Publishing)
Fragments from a Paper Witch gathers a rich collection of Marion Campbell’s writing: essays, poems, stories and a short play. Campbell is seriously playful with language, big on puns, intense with intent. Her collection belongs in a literary tradition sometimes modernist, sometimes post-modernist, but always feminist. Campbell is not afraid to take intellectual risks and her collection records a deep fascination with the politics of language and its use. Perhaps the most successful of these “fragments” paradoxically catch out “language at play” at the same time as they worry at the complexity and contradictions of “lived experience”.