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Old Blastus of Bandicoot

Old Blastus of Bandicoot

A novel by

Miles Franklin's Old Blastus Of Bandicoot bristles like a Banksia in bloom with "good writing" - this from Furnley Maurice's testimony on an inside page in this edition's front matter. It is the 1945 Allied Authors and Artists' ("The sign of a good Australian book") edition, on fox-prone paper yellow with age.

While Franklin doesn't swerve to avoid emotion - there are as many teary moments here as in Bleak House - she avoids at all costs extraneous verbiage. This book is tight as a drum and, like that instrument, responds to good reading with gusto.

Written on the eve of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the book ends with a bridge opening. But this is a dry event compared to the desertion that greets the Barrys when they return - in a car awarded to Old Blastus himself for services rendered during a recent bushfire.

Franklin's subtitle - 'Opuscule on a Pioneer Tufted with Ragged Rhymes' - serves two purposes. It downplays her art - which is fiercely and attractively evident - and brings attention to the poetry clips that serve to introduce each chapter. These are furiously relevant but I'm half convinced that they were written by the author herself, expressly to accompany her beautiful prose.

But it also does something else. It highlights the matter of 'beards' (see yesterday's post), and feminine aversion to large growths which Franklin cheekily presents as analogues of old-fashioned thinking.

Used availability for Miles Franklin's Old Blastus of Bandicoot

See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US

Paperback Editions

September 2009 : USA Paperback
Title: Old Blastus of Bandicoot (World Cultural Heritage Library)
Author(s): Miles Franklin
ISBN: 1-4387-9143-7 / 978-1-4387-9143-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Intl Business Pubns USA
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

October 2013 : Canada Kindle edition
Title: Old Blastus of Bandicoot
Author(s): Miles Franklin
Availability: Amazon CA   

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