The solitariness of Alex Miller

Pierce, Peter (2004) The solitariness of Alex Miller. Australian Literary Studies, 21 (3). pp. 299-311.

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[Extract] Although it was not the first novel of Alex Miller's to be published, The Tivington Nott (1989) was completed before Watching the Climbers on the Mountain (1988). By the time that they appeared, the author was in his early fifties. There had been a long apprenticeship: writing poetry and plays, teaching creative writing, helping to found both the Anthill Theatre and the Melbourne Writers' theatre. Miller's career has been one of the most unobliged to fashion or expectation in Australian fiction of the last couple of decades. It has, in one reckoning, been a series of surprises, none more so than The Tivington Nott. This novel was as unlike its successors, of which there are presently five, as each of those would be from the others. The title refers to a stag without antlers, a rare animal feared and loathed by those who hunt deer because of what it might do if allowed to breed. Formally this is a novella, dealing with the relationship of intimate dependence between a youth and the stallion, Kabara, 'this entire with the strange Australian name', which he gets to exercise and finally to ride in the Winsford Hunt. The unnamed youth has come down from London, for reasons left obscure, to work on a farm at Exmoor in Somerset (much as Miller had done during his teenage years). His story, which Miller stops at the end of the hunt, looks at first like a conventional rite of passage, as the youth is splashed with the blood of a stag.

Item ID: 13852
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0004-9697
Keywords: Australian literature
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2013 04:47
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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