Thursday, November 09, 2006

Four funniest lines from "The Big Ask"

1) "Behind the lenses of his sunglasses Farrell's face was as unreadable as a Patrick White novel."

2) "One-Stop's chambers were smack in the middle of the legal precinct, in a Queen Street high-rise commonly known as the Golan Heights. The reason for this was apparent when I read the directory in the lobby. Unless I was mistaken, few of O'Shannessy's fellow tenants had been educated by the Jesuits."

3) "Lyndal was in a plum-coloured pants-suit. Her businesslike demeanour reminded me how much I longed for her community welfare services to fall into her safety net."

4) "(H)is behaviour was even more scandalous than alleged in the shit-letter. Fooling around might be forgivable. Kinky is a matter of taste. But doing it with a member of the Liberal Party was beyond the pale."

Readers of this blog have suggested that Shane Maloney might not travel well to the United States because of his subversiveness or that "Ultimately I suspect there is some concern that `Australian' won't translate / will be unfathomable." Maybe, maybe not. I suspect Maloney will take a few pages of getting used to for some people because of a wild, deadpan humor that may leave readers wondering whether this man takes himself and his story seriously. At the end of the The Big Ask, after all, narrator/protagonist Murray Whelan says, in effect, that's my story, and "Whether you believe it or not is entirely up to you."

I'd say Maloney's humor and his plain-spoken but evocative descriptions of setting, to name two qualities, make him well worth the effort.

© Peter Rozovsky 2006

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