Two €˜lost€™ Australian novels found

The Age

Wednesday February 3, 2010

By JASON STEGER LITERARY EDITOR

IT€™S a publishing maxim that many novels have a shelf-life of only a few months. But two much-admired books by two of Australia€™s greatest writers are back in the spotlight 40 years after they first appeared.Shirley Hazzard€™s The Bay of Noon and Patrick White€™s The Vivisector have been included on the 22-book longlist for the Lost Man Booker prize.The one-off prize is to acknowledge novels that slipped through the judging net when the prize€™s conditions and date of award were changed in 1970. As a result, a group of novels published that year missed out on consideration. Hazzard and the late White join writers such as J.G. Farrell, Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark on the list.Speaking from her home in New York, where she has lived for many years, Hazzard told The Age that the listing was a big surprise.€˜€˜I don€™t suppose for a moment that I€™ll get it. But it€™s nice to be remembered,€™€™ she said.€˜€˜I won€™t say that it€™s like being brought back from the dead but . . . It€™s a strange thing that it€™s being brought back after so long, but it€™s very pleasant. These are all very different writers and, of course, some of them €” Patrick and Muriel Spark [and others] €” are dead.€™€™The irony of White€™s inclusion is that although he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1973 he had for a decade previously €˜€˜refused every award and decoration offered to him€™€™, according to David Marr€™s biography of the writer.Yesterday Marr told The Age that as far as he knew by the time The Vivisector was published White insisted his work not be entered into prizes.€˜€˜He was not anti prizes,€™€™ Marr said. €˜€˜He was the honoured recipient of the Miles Franklin and he didn€™t half mind getting the Nobel, but he reached the point when he didn€™t want his books entered into prizes.€™€™The Bay of Noon chronicles the impact of friends, lovers and Naples on Jenny, an English girl working there for NATO; The Vivisector follows the driven life of a Sydney painter, Hurtle Duffield.A three-judge panel will shortlist six books and the winner of the Lost Man Booker will be decided by popular vote.THE FULL LISTBrian Aldiss, The Hand Reared BoyH. E. Bates, A Little Of What You Fancy?Nina Bawden, The Birds on the TreesMelvyn Bragg, A Place in EnglandChristy Brown, Down all the DaysLen Deighton, BomberJ. G. Farrell, TroublesElaine Feinstein, The CircleShirley Hazzard, The Bay of NoonReginald Hill, A Clubbable WomanSusan Hill, I€™m the King of the CastleFrancis King, A Domestic AnimalMargaret Laurence, The Fire DwellersDavid Lodge, Out of the ShelterIris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable DefeatShiva Naipaul, FirefliesPatrick O€™Brian, Master and CommanderJoe Orton, Head to ToeMary Renault, Fire From HeavenRuth Rendell, A Guilty Thing Surprised Muriel Spark, The Driver€™s SeatPatrick White, The Vivisector.

© 2010 The Age

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