From the ed­i­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Deb­o­rah Jones

I LOVE a good thick book and a nar­ra­tive so you’d think Charles Dick­ens would be my line of coun­try. Not en­tirely, I must say, although I’ve seen my share of the minis­eries, read a cou­ple of the bi­ogra­phies and seen Miriam Mar­golyes and Si­mon Cal­low do their Dick­ens shows. Like him or not, Dick­ens has al­ways been pretty much in­escapable, but even more so this com­ing week, in which the 200th an­niver­sary of his birth falls. To mark the oc­ca­sion we asked a group of our crit­ics to sift through the out­put and rate it for you, and there’s an in­ter­view with Mar­golyes, a great Dick­ens fan and in­ter­preter who has just started a na­tional tour of Dick­ens’ Women. We round off the Dick­ens-o-rama with an as­sess­ment of the lat­est bi­og­ra­phy, by Claire To­ma­lin. She also wrote The In­vis­i­ble Woman, a won­der­ful piece of de­tec­tive work on Ellen Ter­nan, the young woman for whom Dick­ens left his wife. All that should sat­isfy Dick­ens lovers, although if you’re not one, read any­way. He’s one of the few writ­ers who truly cast a gi­ant shadow on his own age and be­yond. JUST space for a word about a re­cent fly­ing visit to Ho­bart to see The Bar­bar­ians, a new opera by Con Koukias. It was com­mis­sioned by MONA FOMA, the funky mu­sic and art fes­ti­val backed by David Walsh of MONA fame and di­rected by mu­si­cian Brian Ritchie. I saw only the opera, but the vibe was won­der­ful and Ho­bar­tians told me it ex­tended across the fes­ti­val. No dis­re­spect to the Syd­ney Fes­ti­val, which swal­lows up one’s en­tire Jan­uary, but I wish I’d been able to be in Ho­bart a lot longer than I was. The cloning op­tion again, per­haps?

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