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Looking up to Oz

Ausatralian fiction has developed a power that reverses the cultural cringe

By Kate Kellaway   February 2004

English literature has been a mixed blessing for Australia. In his essay "Made in England," David Malouf, one of Australia’s most distinguished novelists, argues that from the early decades of the 19th century onwards, there was an imbalance between Australia and England. Australians found their country "thin and insubstantial" and English books were partly to blame. Australians were most likely to read literature set in England – with the belief that "what happened in books was the way life really was" and because there were "no real books that were Australian," Australia became an absence, a "not here."

When Peter…

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