Cloudstreet – classic description of Australian life, or not?

This was the novel selected for the last meeting of a bookclub that I attend. It’s also the favourite book of one of the members, meaning that she didn’t actually want it nominated and selected. And after the discussion we had at the meeting, I think I can understand. It doesn’t happen with all the books that we read, but sometimes, there is a sense that the discussion would improve immensely had someone raised questions for all of us to think about whilst reading. I typically go to wikipedia and then branch out if I think of something I want to check or research, but it seems like not all of us do (or have the time to do) that.

Anyways, on to the thoughts then…about why we Australians (or quasi-Aussies) connected with it much more than the others did.

The basic story – two families move into a rundown house in a big city and eek out an existence as different as night and day. Their children don’t want to stay, but in the end events, feelings etc change and they end up coming home, bringing new life into the place.

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Review: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the DesertGiven that I’ve lived in Australia for more than half of my life, it is quite embarrassing that it was in Japan that I finally saw Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. (Even more embarrassingly, this was probably well over a year ago now, if memory serves.) Though I do have at least a couple of things to be thankful for, those being that I wasn’t plagued by the image of drag queens in The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, or L.A. Confidential.

Anyways, this is the classic Aussie road-trip movie. Well, classic, Aussie drag queen road-trip movie. It’s famous enough that any Australian would have to hide his/her face in shame if they didn’t know what it was about. Tick/Mitzi, responding to his ex-wife’s request to take perform at her Alice Springs Casino, thus granting her a holiday, convinces a fellow drag queen and a recently bereaved transvestite to join him. The three – an insecure drag queen fearing the consequences of his son finding out about his “secret, a serious, streetsmart old hand, and a head strong and annoyingly naive idiot – thus take a bus trip through the Australian desert, That’s miles and miles of empty road with desert stretching out on all sides, dotted by a few towns and mining communities. Besides the prejudice against minorities that one often finds in the country, and the occassional hazard due to long months of forced abstinence, the greatest trials they face are boredom and its consequences. How a group of drag queens deal with it is, of course, probably vastly different from what most other people would do.

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