Australian literatureEpisode One – Reading Matters

Episode One – Reading Matters


The first episode of the three-part TV series ‘Books that Made Us’ aired last night on ABC TV. (If you live in Australia and missed it, you can Keep up to date on iView.)

This episode, called ‘People’, was a theme around great characters from Australian fiction. This is how it is described in iView:

As an actor, Claudia Caravan knows that great stories are about people, great characters. What truths can we reveal about ourselves through the fictional characters of Australian novels?

Having been starving of Australian literary fiction for about 20 years while living abroad, it was a pleasure to see it shining into my living room! I knew the names so well and read some of the books. I even interviewed one of the past writers (hello, Tim Winton) and met another Several times (hello, Christus Tsiolx).

While there may have been a little too much focus on Karvan in the show and too much weight towards contemporary literature, there was enough meat on the bones in this episode to amuse me. And I even learned a thing or two. It was not a forehead or dumb eyebrow, but a step by careful means.

And more importantly, it would not have so fainted the writers and praised their work. In her opening interview with Christos Tsiolex, Caravan confessed that she never finished the book because she hated the characters so much! I’m sure this is not the first time Ciolex has received such criticism for his book, but perhaps the first time he has had to defend it on television. I think he did it pretty well!

The books are covered in the first chapter

I thought it might be interesting to list the books covered in the first chapter. Here they are, in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. As always, hyperlinks take you to my reviews

  • ‘They’re a Strange Mob’ by Nino Colota [not read, but we had a copy in the family home when I was growing up – amazed to discover it was written by an Irish-American, not an Italian immigrant]
  • “The True History of the Kelly Gang” by Peter Curry [abandoned in my pre-blogging days but as a much more experienced reader, I would be prepared to give this one another go]
  • ‘The Choking’ by Sophie Laguna [not read this, but in the TBR]
  • ‘Too Much Lip’ by Melissa Luchenko
  • ‘Halves’ by Michael Muhammad Ahmad
  • ‘Edith Trilogy’ (‘Big Days’, ‘Dark Palace’ and ‘Cold Light’) by Frank Morehouse [admittedly never heard of it but want to read immediately!]
  • ‘The Honey Bee’ by Craig Sylvie
  • ‘The Slap’ by Christos Tsiolex
  • ‘Cloudstreet’ by Tim Winton [read and loved when it first came out in the early 1990s and am probably due for a reread!]

The next episode, called ‘Place’, will be screened next Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

Posted by Kimbopu

I am a book lover who has been reviewing online books as a hobby since 2001. This blog, Reading Matters, was founded in 2004 and has undergone various costumes over the past 17 years. I like to read extensively but there is a special place in my heart for literary literature from Ireland and Australia.
View all posts by kimbofo



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