Page 64 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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are not as intensely and obsessively agonized over as in the writ­
ings o f his contemporaries; the work is “pu re ” in that political-
ideological stances have not yet entered into his story-telling.
A different book is
The Unbending
(1954), Waten’s first novel,
published two years later. Here, a Jewish family settles near Perth
in 1912 and becomes involved with all the excitement and con­
flicts over conscription that attend the outbreak o f World War I.
There is poignancy in the depiction of the trials o f this family, to
be sure, but the story portrays also the social and political atmos­
phere o f the day.
O ther novels then followed:
Shares in Murder
(1957), a tale o f
murder that moves through worlds of vice, crime and business;
Time of Conflict (
1961), a particularly controversial novel set in the
Depression years and contrasting idealism and ambition;
(1964), a re tu rn to the problems o f adjustment o f an immi­
grant family in Australia, in a tale particularly reminiscent of
Light and Shadow
Season o f Youth
(1966), telling o f the
boyhood adolescence and early manhood o f a young Australian
writer in Melbourne and Sydney during the Depression years;
So Far, No Further
(1917) which, by relating the love affair
between a Jewish girl and an Italian boy, explores the conflicts
experienced by immigrant adolescents. Waten’s latest novel,
Scenes o f Revolutionary Life
(1982), set in Melbourne and London
in the late twenties and thirties, tells o f a young Communist who
is politically committed to the Communist movement but is
nonetheless torn between a literary and a revolutionary life.
In 1978, Waten published a collection o f stories entitled
and Rebellion
and united by their concern for the “unde rdog” in
an alien and sometimes hostile, environment. Here he attains to a
ce r ta in cosm opo litan ism which em b races I ta l ia n , G reek ,
Aborigine, Jew, as well as delinquent youth, the meek public ser­
vant and the maimed soldier.
Waten’s ou tpu t has been quite formidable. He has established
for himself a place in Australian literature, although, for all his
excursions into politics, social comment and deployment o f what
shall here loosely be called “secular” themes, it is most likely for
his work on migrants that he will most endure.
While on the subject of cosmopolitanism, one must inevitably
move on to David Martin, (born Ludwig Detsinyi in 1915) whom