Growing Up with Mr Menzies
Rarely is a book about growing-up so free from nostalgia, but full of such bittersweet portraits. It is the story of the early years of Felix Hayes, born in 1949 in suburban Melbourne. It is also John Jenkins' meditation - implicit everywhere, and at times direct - on memory and fiction, and on the embodiment of history in the lives of individuals. He is deft with the flexible rhythms of free-verse forms. The evocations of the secret spaces and places, and the relationships, of childhood are caught with beautiful economy and layering of tones and voices. Threaded through is the iconic figure of Mr Menzies, himself a layered character, as a guide to the Australian era that bears his name.
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