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Showing posts from January, 2020

The Death of a Restless Young Romantic

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On Friday 24 January 2020, a small group of Sydney Rush fans gathered to attend a Sydney 'wake' for the recent passing of Neil Peart. The following text was my contribution to the formalities. Rush never toured Australia and didn't really have a hit song here. But Neil Peart's lyrics, and his phenomenal drumming had a great impact on each of our lives.  I've quoted freely from Neil Peart's lyrics, which are available for all to read on the Rush website
Neil Peart was a prolific reader who thought deeply about his craft as a writer. There are probably lots of great articles out there -- here's just one I found from 1986, after Power Windows was released.  “The Songwriting Interview: Neil Peart” (Bruce Pollock, Guitar forthe Practicing Musician, October 1986, transcribed by Gregg Jaeger). 
This is a step away from my usual practice on this blog of writing exclusively about fiction. That's because Neil Peart's work may come with a 7/8 time signature in…

Oracle Night

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Paul Auster’s Oracle Night was published in 2004. I must have first read it that year, or else the next. I know I enjoyed it. The premise of footnotes that carry over several pages to set up alternative methods of reading the text stayed with me; the typical Auster trick of running several narratives at once and moving in and out of them astounded me then as now. Part of the reason I returned to it recently was to admire, once again, how smoothly Auster creates a series of embedded narratives.


Layer 1: Sydney Orr, Brooklyn Author, is recovering from a near fatal illness. He buys a blue notebook and begins to work on a new story, based on a character from Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon (a clue – hardboiled detective fiction rarely ends with events “set right”). This layer concerns Orr’s life as a writer, husband and friend to another writer – a more successful one, and a rival of sorts, John Trause.


Layer 2: Footnotes. Orr uses footnotes to explain the story behind the story, and to give…