08 February 2007

Eucalyptus, Eucaschmyptus

I should write a post about Murray Bail's Eucalyptus, which I finished reading a while back. My adverse feelings towards it did not change. I was disappointed by the way Bail developed Ellen's character. Of course, he was knowingly borrowing from the romantic fairytale genre. This meant that Ellen (the "heroine") remained placid and powerless as to the fate her father had devised for her, to the point of becoming listless and bedridden. A passive sleeping beauty who awaits the prince's kiss, or in this case, his story, to awaken her. As far as the romance went, it didn't transcend the story that bound it.

I've not read any of Bail's other work (except his short story, The Drover's Wife), but felt that a modern audience would prefer a fairytail heroine with a bit more gumption. Oh, and the prince's stories were a little naff. As a narrative device, I found their inclusion somewhat stilted. The twist at the end was clever, but this didn't redeem what had gone before.