Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Books

Reviewed!: The Doubleman (1985) …

Author Christopher Koch is unknown to most people.

This is surprising, because he had a huge reputation in the literary world, and is considered Australia’s best writer of fiction ever (yes, even better than Richard Flanagan and Tim Winton).

All his books have sold well, especially the one that made him successful: The Year of Living Dangerously (published in 1979), which was adapted into a film starring Mel Gibson in 1982. Koch always wrote with great purity. His writing is never flamboyant, and he never showed off. Two of his novels won Australia’s top literary award, the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

One of these two novels, The Doubleman, was published in 1985. It’s mainly set in Tasmania and Sydney. Richard Miller works at the Australian Broadcasting Service and produces a successful electric folk group in Sydney.

The group consists of Richard’s cousin Brian Brady and friend Darcy Burr, and eventually Richard’s wife, Katrin. During their youth in Tasmania, Richard, Brian, and Darcy were influenced by a guitar teacher named Clive Broderick, who’s also an occultist. Clive frequently spoke to them about power, and a realm that exists beyond reality. Broderick’s influence and presence remains with the three of them, long after his death.

Like Koch’s other novels, The Doubleman is expertly written. Each sentence and paragraph flows irresistibly into the next. All the characters are believable, and the descriptions of places and landscapes were majestic. I never questioned any aspect of the novel: everything made perfect sense. It’s no wonder it won the Miles Franklin.

The Doubleman is a literary novel, so I wouldn’t recommend it to those who enjoy action-packed stories. But if you enjoy a good literary novel, are a history buff, or have a passion for folk music, give The Doubleman a read. I’d also recommend it to those who are fascinated with illusion.

I give it five out of five.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    February 3, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I invite readers to read from the following link to the SMH of 2002:

    https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/the-many-coloured-land-20021108-gdfsvo.html

    Brian Mooney, a friend, of c. 88 years of age and a painter/folk-songster, still joins the sessions – eg these days at the Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston. Blessed with a voice to carry across the bar-room, he’s been singing the songs of Ireland for so many years. His trip with Christopher Koch to Ireland (Koch’s sub-title: ‘A return to Ireland’) reveals some of the ingredients, some of the source of the power, that that land and its people have over the hearts of us in the Irish diaspora.

    One favourite is of course ‘Raglan Road’, though many will have others. ‘Carrick Fergus’ is one that we would all include. On a personal level, I love to hear Brian’s take on ‘Athen Rye’. Importantly, the song brings Ireland’s Great Famine to Botany Bay where, coincidentally, my father is buried at Foundation Park.

    I hope Callum J. Jones will forgive my stepping around his review of ‘The Doubleman’. Koch’s account of his travels with Brian is not fiction and I recommend it as, at the very least, a means of coming to know Koch, the writer.

    [ The Many-Coloured Land: A Return to Ireland: Christopher Koch:
    https://www.amazon.com/Many-Coloured-Land-Return-Ireland/dp/0330363832

    Australian novelist Christopher Koch and his friend Brian Mooney sets out on a journey through Ireland. Mooney is seeking an aspect of his past. He is returning … ]

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