The Merry-go-round in the Sea: A Novel

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Taplinger Publishing Company, 1984 - National characteristics, Australian - 276 pages
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User Review  - tandah - LibraryThing

Whilst a book many Australian's read at school as part of their curriculum, would not be appropriate to see this as a children's book (akin to reading 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'Hamlet'). The following ... Read full review

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User Review  - seekingflight - LibraryThing

Understated and meditative, and perhaps deceptively simple at first, this account of a young Australian boy’s childhood in and around Geraldtown, Western Australia, and his reactions to his older ... Read full review


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About the author (1984)

Born in Western Australia and educated at the university there, Stow wrote his first novels while he was an undergraduate. He has lived in England since 1966. His third novel, To the Islands (1958), received Australia's distinguished Miles Franklin Award for Fiction, a high honor for so young a writer. The novel unfolds the surreal saga of Herriot, a disillusioned missionary whose loss of faith compels him to embark on a pilgrimage of self-discovery through the desert to the Aboriginal islands of the dead. The desert landscape also serves as the setting for Tourmaline (1963), a fable in which a water diviner comes to a drought-ridden settlement promising water but discovering gold. The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea (1965) relies much less on the allusive symbolism characteristic of Stow's other work; instead, it records a boy's transition to adolescence against the background of a remote settlement on the far side of Australia. In The Visitants (1979) Stow fictionalizes his experiences as an assistant to the government anthropologist of Papua, New Guinea, but this metaphysical adventure in the tropics has little to do with autobiography. Suburbs of Hell (1984) reveals a series of brutal, motiveless murders that take place in an English village. Also set in England and making use of British myth, The Girl Green as Elderflower (1980) traces the recuperation of a man who has experienced strange things in his past. Stow's work is widely admired, both in Australia and abroad, for the expression of Taoist philosophy, a heightened artistry, an extended use of symbolism, and surreal qualities, even as it handles mainly Australian materials. Critics consider Stow an important influence on younger writers who have followed him in breaking away from the realistic molds that long constricted Australian fiction.

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