Books

Opening Life’s Windows

Simon Leys The Hall of Uselessness: Collected Essays (Black Inc, 2011), 512 pages, $49.95 The first thing to be said about this extraordinary book is that it is among the best ever written and published in Australia. The second is that there is not a single chapter in it with an exclusively Australian theme. It takes its place among—and asks to be judged by—“the best that has been said and thought in the world”. This includes masterpieces of French, English or Chinese literature rather than Australian achievements. The author understands our loyalty to, say, Henry Lawson but he will not…

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