Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I've just seen the brilliant and elegant Geraldine Brooks charming the socks off Tony Jones on Lateline as they chatted about her Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, awarded last weekend for her 2005 novel March.
For those who haven't caught up with this book yet, it's an imaginative re-creation of the absent father from Little Women, telling the story of his life during the year that the children's classic covers during the American Civil War. It covers a great deal of historical and philosophical ground and transforms Little Women into a dark and adult tale.
One reason I was particularly happy about this win for Brooks was that, along with Delia Falconer's The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers, also set in 19thC America, March is one of the most poetic, intellectually complex and coherently imagined Australian novels of 2005 but is nonetheless ineligible for the country's best-known and most prestigious fiction prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, whose rules as laid down in Franklin's will include the stipulation that the winning novel 'must deal with Australian life'. I expect to see Falconer's book get some international recognition as well before this year is out.