Until early 2020, large numbers of Australians were committed travellers and expatriates: known to drink too much in Bangkok, backpack through Vietnam, trek in Nepal, as well as tour the Dalmatian Coast and climb Mt Kilimanjaro. In the process, they wrote about it — for better or worse — in books from Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French to Sarah Macdonald’s Holy Cow, as well as in blogs, reviews and social media posts. https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/missing-travel-a-book-is-the-best-ticket-to-have-right-now-20210913-p58rac.html
Reading Literary Blockbusters on Ngannawal Country
On Ngunnawal country, the Canberra bubble continues to expand, with its brutalist architecture, national institutions, consulates, and blue-tinged gums from which the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain (aka the Syringe aka the Spaceship Docking Station) emerges. It is not a place well-known for literary production or for the celebration of literature. The roads with their infernal on and off ramps, circuits and curves, are arrayed in patterns to facilitate communication with aliens, or for devil worship. Canberra/Ngambri manages to be the nation’s capital, and remote—provincial—estranged from the artistic and literary metropolitan centres of Australia and the wider world.
This article offers a consideration of the figure of the feral child in Australian writer Eva Hornung’s Dog Boy (2009), a novel based on stories circulating in the media about children raised by dogs in post-perestroika Russia.