Summerland - Malcolm KnoxPicador, 2001, Paperback ..
Condition: Very Good.
Reminiscent of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Malcolm Knox's Summerland has the same notional geographic divide (this time North v South Sydney rather than the US East and West coasts), centres on an elite group of spoilt, beautiful people, contains the death of the chief protagonist and has a narrator who stands on the sidelines--a one-man Greek chorus. Through its documentary style and the narrator's rambling but contained style, Knox controls the narrative tension, building up to the dramatic denouement. It is not only successful where it emulates The Great Gatsby but also where it diverges from the original. Hugh Buchanan is the fierce descendant of Tom Buchanan, Richard the progeny of Nick Carraway, Hugh's wife Helen is the indolent, spoilt Daisy reincarnate and Richard's wife Pup is the masculine, independent-minded modern woman. However, it is strongest where it departs from the original: Hugh's adulterous affair with a prostitute has one unique detail, which firmly updates it, and Richard is no mere observer but a fleshed out, fallible human being. 272pp.
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