Page 67 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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LIBERMAN / AUSTRALIAN JEWISH FICTION SINCE WORLD WAR II
59
ings ever tend to the peace o f reconciliation, tolerance and sym­
p a thy . G iven to th e p o ig n an t , th e h um o ro u s , even the
sentimental, Marks emerges as a man who simply cannot hate.
The same quality is apparen t in his posthumously published
novel
Unicom Among the Wattles
(1979), in which he tells o f a
young English Jewish boy who joins the Anzacs in Gallipoli in
1915, later travels to Australia, and is torn between the dual loyal­
ties of the strong Australian ethic of mateship with his former
army “diggers” and o f his responsibility to his girlfriend, later
fiancee, then wife. Here, too, he speaks with a voice that is gentle
but none the less persuasive.
Stan Marks, in 1964, published
God Gave You One Face,
a novel
that tells of a young Jewish woman who confronts her former
concentration camp guard, a man who was responsible for the
death o f her relatives, and for whose own death she is charged
when he plunges over the staircase in her home. There is some
drama here, some exploration o f such issues as moral versus legal
justice, forgiveness versus retribution, individual versus collect­
ive guilt, but they are handled, regrettably, with far too bland
journalistic pallor, mutedness and simplistic mode to be wholly
satisfying. Ajournalist, Marks has written a considerable number
of books — travel guides, studies of children from different cul­
tures (Aboriginal, New Guinea, Balinese) — all with sympathy
and goodwill, but no other novels.
More satisfying, even if rather inconsistent, is Morris Lurie,
born in 1938, who already has five novels, seven collections o f sto­
ries and other prose pieces, a trio of plays and three children’s
books behind him.
Lurie, like David Martin, though without the politics that have
directed the older writer, is a victim of wanderlust. His stories are
set in Australia, Tangier, Switzerland, Greece, England, Israel,
and New York. What appears to drive him is an ingrained rest­
lessness; his is the obsessive need both to find and to prove
himself, in the same way that his writing, as he says, has always
been essentially “the business of explaining my life, or versions of
it.” And the quest is ever the same whether he writes directly
about himself or enters into the skin of his personae in his novels
Rappaport
(1966) and
Flying Home
(1978), or collections
Inside the
Wardrobe
(1975),
Running Nicely
(1979) or
Dirty Friends
(1981).
Lurie, like Waten, though with much more gusto and emotion,
does talk of the maladjustment of the immigrant generation, per­