Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Because literary recognition came to him first for his verse collections, for quite some time David Malouf (mah-LOOF) was regarded primarily as a poet. His first published writings were poetry, and in addition to contributions to works featuring several authors, efforts such as Neighbours in a Thicket (1974), Wild Lemons (1980), First Things Last (1981), and Typewriter Music (2007) have sustained his reputation in this genre. Some critics have discerned varying levels of sophistication when his earlier verse is compared with his later verse.

Malouf has also experimented with the writing of short stories, an autobiographical narrative, and drama. His stories “Eustace” (1982) and “The Prowler” (1982) concern isolated and apparently unsociable characters who seem misplaced yet oddly adapted to Australian settings. The collection Antipodes (1985) comprises short stories that in the main deal with the troubles of immigrants and problems of adjustment in Australia as well as the culturally ambivalent situation of Australians in Europe. Malouf set down some of the personal sources behind themes and images in his fiction with the publication of 12 Edmondstone Street (1985), a memoir that deals in part with the writer’s childhood years in Brisbane and in part, somewhat impressionistically, with his work and travel during the 1980’s. In addition, he has written librettos for several operas, including Voss (pr. 1986), based on Patrick White’s novel, and Jane Eyre (pb. 2000), based on Charlotte Brontë’s novel. He has explored another line of creative interest with his play Blood Relations (pr., pb. 1988).