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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 54 | volume X | May-June, 2007



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 54May-June, 2007

Every Move You Make

p. 1
Peter Rose

Peter Rose, editor of Australian Book Review, describes David Malouf as a subtle artist who writes yearning and metaphysical stories in the review of the new collection “Every Move You Make” (Chatto & Windus, 2006) published in The Australian [,20867,20637567-5003900,00. html]

Ten years have passed since David Malouf's last novel, The Conversations at Curlow Creek; 13 since Remembering Babylon, which many people regard as his finest achievement. It would be presumptuous to ask if we have seen the last of the novels: his long career in literature has always had a sure, sophisticated direction, moving fluently from poetry to fiction to libretti to criticism.
    Malouf has spoken of his affection for short stories, even those put aside as unconvincing or unrealised. He will go back to them years later and find out if they speak to him. He enjoys the genre because of the freedom it offers to raid different types of consciousness, unlike the consuming task of shaping one world, one sensibility, one set of destinies. In his early 70s, the absorption of novelising may no longer appeal to him.
    Six years after his last collection, Dream Stuff, Malouf has assembled seven stories in Every Move You Make. The length varies but the voice is consistent: taut and unembellished. The range of subjects, ages, characters, milieux is as wide as ever, with temporal limits. We have learned not to expect portraits of contemporary Australia from Malouf, who has always seemed happier with colonial subjects or ideas of childhood or wartime themes. Clive James, reviewing Dream Stuff, wished that Malouf would bring the focus of his attention to the present day, and suggested the work was mired in Arcadia. Certainly, in the new collection the characters -- often soulful and introspective -- move through a kind of spacious, isolated world that bears little resemblance to the affluent, brusque, voracious Australia of the 21st century.
    As in most of Malouf's writings, the characters' stories are personal, yearning, metaphysical, without any overt philosophising. Little happens in these stories, as in life, as Virginia Woolf once reminded us. Malouf is wary of plot. The stories unfold like moods, like sweetly orchestrated sonatas. (Malouf has remarked that, in his quest for affinities, he structures his books like music.) For the characters, this can entail movement away from family or connection or the past, into an intensely private future. Several characters seem to use these stories to unravel

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