The Weekend Australian - Review - - Viewpoints -

I RE­ALLY en­joyed Luke Slat­tery’s Rear View col­umn about his failed at­tempt to read Joseph Con­rad’s Nostromo (‘‘ Canon light on for laughs’’, Fe­bru­ary 28March 1). He was spot-on. I es­pe­cially loved the idea of the great book that you want to have read rather than read. It re­minded me of my own fu­tile strug­gles with a cou­ple of lit­er­ary greats, Marcel Proust in par­tic­u­lar and Ernest Hem­ing­way, too. Even so, it is more of­ten my ex­pe­ri­ence that a ‘‘ great book’’ I’ve felt scared to tackle has ended up be­ing much more ac­ces­si­ble than I’d thought it would be. The Kudelka car­toon that ac­com­pa­nied Slat­tery’s col­umn, ‘‘ Great novel with airbag’’, was even bet­ter. A gem! Gae Robin­son Rand­wick, NSW

Hem­ing­way JILL Ste­wart’s mem­o­ries of school con­certs ( This ( Con­cert) Life , Fe­bru­ary 28-March 1) brought back many sim­i­lar ones for me: end of year fundraiser con­certs for my coun­try state school, break-up days in the 1930s when money was scarce but tal­ent bound­less. I was trans­formed by an in­spi­ra­tional teacher from a lit­tle girl who was quite sure she could not act into Alice in Won­der­land. Such fun! Ann Shevill Ken­more Hills, Queens­land IN his re­view of two books about the quest for peace in the Mid­dle East, Alan Gold writes: ‘‘[ Martin] Indyk . . . was at the epi­cen­tre of events as [ Bill] Clin­ton tried to solve the world’s most in­tractable con­flict’’ (‘‘ Des­per­ate diplo­macy’’, Fe­bru­ary 21-22). Gold is one of many who ap­pear to con­sider epi­cen­tre to be a more so­phis­ti­cated word mean­ing the same thing as cen­tre. But epi­cen­tre has a very spe­cific tech­ni­cal mean­ing in ge­o­mor­phol­ogy as the point at which earth­quakes reach the Earth’s sur­face. It is a mis­use of epi­cen­tre to move it out of the field of ge­o­mor­phol­ogy and use it as a gen­eral re­place­ment for cen­tre. Howard Thomas West Cherm­side, Queens­land WITH ref­er­ence to Greg Sheri­dan’s Rear View col­umn (‘‘ Slum­dogs shame our dogs’’, Fe­bru­ary 21-22), I need to point out that Slum­dog Mil­lion­aire isn’t an In­dian movie; it isn’t even a co-pro­duc­tion. Though shot in Mum­bai with an all-but-one In­dian cast and a score by A. R. Rah­man, it’s an en­tirely Bri­tish pro­duc­tion. The film was 100 per cent Bri­tish fi­nanced from two Lon­don-based pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies. Its di­rec­tor ( Danny Boyle), pro­ducer ( Chris­tian Col­son), writer ( Si­mon Beau­foy), cin­e­matog­ra­pher ( An­thony Dod Man­tle) and ed­i­tor ( Chris Dick­ens) are all English and all won Os­cars for their work on the film. The star of the film, 18-year-old Dev Pa­tel, is a Lon­doner born and bred. In­deed, the film is seen as the cen­tre­piece of a new golden age of Bri­tish cin­ema. The day the Os­car nom­i­na­tions were an­nounced The Times ’ s film critic wrote: ‘‘ The un­prece­dented num­ber of Bri­tish hope­fuls merely re­flects that our in­dus­try is cur­rently gen­er­at­ing the best in­de­pen­dent cin­ema in the world.’’ Des Brown New­cas­tle upon Tyne, Eng­land

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