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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents -

AS Luke Slat­tery (The Forum, Septem­ber 29-30) pointed out, The

Hare with Am­ber Eyes is a mem­oir and not the ‘‘novel of doorstep heft’’ im­plied by cit­ing it among ex­am­ples of fic­tion. In this mem­oir Ed­mund de Waal de­notes and refers to his­tory and fam­ily life, which may not ap­peal to all read­ers, but for me it il­lu­mi­nated poignantly cat­a­strophic events af­fect­ing his fam­ily and in­tro­duced an in­tri­cate art form in the net­suke, about which I knew lit­tle but found fas­ci­nat­ing. As a bi­og­ra­phy the book is a rel­a­tively short read. Slat­tery’s choice to mix gen­res is mis­guided. I for one found the mem­oir im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing. Krystyna Pin­dral Ade­laide LUKE Slat­tery writes that ‘‘suc­cinct nov­els prove per­fectly suited to our age’’ and wins Pin-Up Boy of the Month sta­tus at this pub­lish­ing house, Bird­song Press. Do shout him a beer! He aptly gives the long and the tall of the short and the sweet. We will frame his timely words for all to read. He should also get a con­ser­va­tion award for sav­ing pa­per — and the en­vi­ron­ment. Graeme Bond Man­durah, Western Aus­tralia IN his re­view of Looper (‘‘No time like the past for murder’’, Septem­ber 29-30), Evan Wil­liams de­clares: ‘‘It’s im­pos­si­ble, I think, to con­struct a time-travel plot that is free of log­i­cal con­tra­dic­tion.’’ He gives as an ex­am­ple the Ter­mi­na­tor films: the ro­bot from the fu­ture can’t kill John Con­nor be­cause, had he suc­ceeded, there would have been no Con­nor in the fu­ture, con­trary to what we al­ready know to be true. Wil­liams’s view is widely held and com­pletely false. For a sparkling anal­y­sis of how self-con­sis­tent time­travel sto­ries are pos­si­ble, read the clas­sic pa­per by philoso­pher David Lewis, The Para­doxes of Time

Travel. If you re­strict your­self to the un­think­ing non­sense of the

Ter­mi­na­tor or Back to the Fu­ture movies, time travel will not seem plau­si­ble. But for ex­am­ples of wholly con­sis­tent time-travel sto­ries, one need only go to two clas­sic sto­ries by Robert A. Hein­lein: By His

Boot­straps and All You Zom­bies. Robert Nichols Yar­ralumla, ACT GOOD on you, Jane Fraser (Plainly Jane, Septem­ber 29-30). Don’t let them talk you down. I’m 73 and have just com­pleted a 1600km walk through France and Spain, fol­lowed by a stint as a vol­un­teer hos­pi­talero. I met many young peo­ple who asked my age and said how much they ad­mired what I did. They hoped they could do the same when they were my age and wished their par­ents had my drive. Many in their 40s think the world is fin­ished at 60. Boy, do we have news for them. Frank Ap­ple­ton Wil­son­ton Heights, Queens­land HOW does Rose­mary Neill know that Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson and Miles Franklin were celi­bate (‘‘The vagina di­a­logues’’, Septem­ber 22-23)? Or that ‘‘count­less di­vorced, wid­owed and sin­gle women end up celi­bate’’? From re­search that I’ve seen, very, very few peo­ple of ei­ther gen­der are celi­bate. Re­search has also shown that a woman’s or­gasm is far more in­tense if there is not a pe­nis in the same room. Ali­son Cor­co­ran Carsel­dine, Queens­land To be con­sid­ered for pub­li­ca­tion, let­ters must con­tain an ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Let­ters may be edited for length and clar­ity.

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