Remembering Babylon – David Malouf – 2/10 (DNF)

“Strange how unimportant eyebrows can be, as long as there are two of them”

In David Malouf’s IMPAC-winning novel (novelette? 182 pages), a group of children in 1840s Queensland happen across a young man, unkempt and racially white, but exhibiting behaviour they and their community expect of the local Aborigines. The community is changed forever by Gemmy’s arrival.

I don’t understand how this won the IMPAC and was shortlisted for the Booker. It’s So Incredibly Uninteresting. I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the characters, the setting, the writing, just any of it. Maybe that’s a criterion for book prizes.

Each chapter is from a different character’s point of view – we get Gemmy, Lachlan (the boy who found him), Janet (Lachlan’s jealous cousin), Jock (Janet’s father), the teacher… and none of them is an interesting person by themselves. There are some vague hints of interesting colonial life (dialogue is written in a strange Scotch hybrid sometimes) but it’s not explored. The writing is… meh. It’s not even exhilerating writing.

Urgh. Take it away from me.

Additional info:
This  copy was bought from a charity shop.
Publisher: Vintage Books, 182 pages
Order Remembering Babylon from Amazon if you can bear the tedium*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards giveaways.
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4 thoughts on “Remembering Babylon – David Malouf – 2/10 (DNF)

  1. Liburuak 31 January 2012 at 6:21 pm Reply

    Poor you, that sounds truly awful! I hope you get a better read next.

  2. JoV 4 February 2012 at 11:24 pm Reply

    I agree that his writing was meh for me. Guess I’ll just forget about this one. Luckily I didn’t get my own copy… Sorry that you didn’t like it.

  3. Challenges update | Reading With Tea 28 February 2012 at 5:03 pm Reply

    [...] David Malouf’s Remembering Babylon for it and so instead of 3 books in the month, I managed 1 DNF. Since then I’ve read Tomorrow When the War Began and Down Under, which isn’t [...]

  4. Em 21 March 2012 at 9:41 am Reply

    For me, he over uses poetic techniques – it’s as though you want to just shout “GET ON WITH IT!!” Some of his ideas that are brought up are interesting – however, there is too much OVER description and too much shifting of point of view to actually be an enjoying read. Since the story isn’t in chronological order, it is quite frustrating…. And since there are no sparknotes, if you’re a lazy lit student like me, you’re pretty much stuffed haha ;)

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