Zenosbooks

The Bush Soldiers by John Hooker. New York. 1984. 439 pages. October 1984. hardcover. 0670197513. Jacket design by Nell Stuart. Jacket painting by Hodges Soileau, 1984. keywords: Literature Australia.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   It is August 1943. The Japanese have invaded Australia and are holding its eastern coastal cities. In the deserted interior moving from one desolate outpost to another, are a group of men united by little more than their bravery and common plight. Two of them are English and the rest Australian; some of them are old - the hero, Geoffrey Sawtell, saw action In World War I as a raw Australian recruit in the trenches - and some very young; some of them are experienced and one is nothing but a drifter. Yet in this inhospitable landscape they are in certain respects all equal. After sabotaging a mine held by the Japanese, the bush soldiers retreat into central Australia, looking constantly for their pursuers, seeing nothing but the infrequent smoke of a campfire. Chapters recounting their adventures alternate with flashbacks about the heroic Sawtell - his love, his work, his inarticulate deep search for an ideal of progressive Australian life. But as the men move deeper into the country not even Sawtell, the one most attuned to the land essential beauty can escape the truth that they are all foreigners and newcomers in this ancient, aboriginal place. And the cruel terrain and their own weaknesses suggest that the Japanese nightmare is not, perhaps, the principal one. The tension mounts as the enemy continually eludes them; the final tragedy is played out when - their supplies depleted, their way uncertain, their destiny clouded - the implacable truth of the Australian bush brings the soldiers to their knees and all but two of them to their certain death. Of John Hooker and THE BUSH SOLDIERS, the Australian poet and novelist David Malouf has written, ‘Difficult to say what is most admirable, the action of his epic plot, the daring with which he moves from a precise vision of Australia between the wars to his imaginary historical moment, the irony of his contrast between British, Australian, and aboriginal heroes, the complexity with which he presents his leading character, or the surprise he springs in locating the real enemy not in the Japanese invaders but in the invaded land itself, before which Geoffrey Sawtell’s virtues as a man of action, and all his weaponry, are of no value whatsoever. THE BUSH SOLDIERS is set in the past - in fact an imaginary one - but its argument is utterly contemporary. It’s a real achievement.’

 

 

Check zenosbooks.com for either a used or a new copy of this book, or you can add it to your wishlist.

 

 

 

 


Search

Zeno's Picks

Neglectedbooks.com

The Neglected Books Page

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • Eleanor Saltzman, Novelist and Poet
    In and among all the dispiriting and infuriating news we’ve been exposed to lately, several efforts to recognize the work of some women writers have provided some refreshing and inspiring relief. Last week, the Paris Review debuted a new monthly feature, Feminize Your Canon, written by Emma Garman, which will explore “the lives of underrated... Read more
  • A Little to the East, by Robert Cenedella (1963)
    Robert Cenedella spent a lifetime writing, but A Little to the East was the one and only novel he ever published. Cenedella began writing short stories as a high school English teacher, got some of them published in popular magazines, then moved to New York City and into radio. By the late 1940s, he was... Read more
  • Murder City, by O. M. Hall (Oakley Hall) (1949)
    Murder City was Oakley Hall’s first novel, published under the name of “O. M. Hall.” Although Hall came to be known as the dean of Western writers, particularly based on his 1958 novel, Warlock, he developed his chops with a number of thrillers full of guns, girls, and gangsters. The next four of these after... Read more
  • A Visit from Venus, by Ronald Fraser (1958)
    How to describe A Visit from Venus? How about P. G. Wodehouse meets Olaf Stapledon? This assumes people recognize Stapledon, a contemporary of Wodehouse’s who wrote cosmic fantasies that swept the reader through spans of time that make millenia look short and distances that make parsecs seem like a stroll around the block. Ronald Fraser... Read more
  • You Can’t Tell a Belmont Book by Looking at the Cover
    Lurid covers full of sexual innuendos and implications of violence were the primary marketing tool for cheap paperback books back in the 1950s and 1960s, and few publishers were more lurid and cheaper in their tastes than Belmont Books. The staples of their line were science fiction (they published Philip K. Dick, Philip Jose Farmer,... Read more
  • Christina Stead recommends a “Romance of Tasmania”
    In a letter to poet and dramatist Ettore Rella that appears in Talking into the Typewriter: Selected Letters (1973-1983), Christina Stead recommends a long-forgotten novel by Australian writer William Hay first published in 1918: I have just finished a a truly remarkable novel that probably will not come your way: The Escape of the Notorious... Read more
  • Gloria Swanson, from Doug and Mary, by Allene Talmey (1927)
    Alone, she persuaded Wall Street bankers to finance her unit, Gloria Swanson, Inc., to the extent of $1,200,000, taking as consideration her box office record and her insurance policies of several million dollars. Alone, she must make the money to pay her $10,000 monthly living expenses. She must keep up her $100,000 penthouse on top... Read more
  • Of Princesses and their Memoirs
    Just in case the newest addition to the British Royal Family, the Duchess of Sussex, is in need of some self-help reading, here is a tiara-full of memoirs written by princesses from the past. • The beautiful Lady Craven; the original memoirs of Elizabeth, baroness Craven, afterwards margravine of Anspach and Bayreuth and princess Berkeley... Read more
  • John Quill, from Weeds of Witchery, by Thomas Haynes Bayly (1837)
    John Quill John Quill was clerk to Robert Shark, a legal man was he, As dull, obscure, and technical as legal man could be; And, perch’d before his legal desk, Quill learnt the legal rules That give high principles to all who sit upon high stools! John Quill with skill could doubt distil where all... Read more
  • George Arbuthnott Jarrett, by Bernard Toms (1965)
    George Arbuthnott Jarrett was one of the most striking debuts in English fiction in the 1960s. There was nothing in Bernard Toms’ background to suggest that this ex-RAF mechanic and former Metropolitan Police officer had a work of such intensity and originality in him. As Irving Wardle, the TLS reviewer wrote: Originality is the last... Read more
Copyright © 2018 Zenosbooks. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.