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  • Published: 28 November 2023
  • ISBN: 9780143786122
  • Imprint: Knopf Australia
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $45.00

Frank Moorhouse: Strange Paths




A cultural history of the times that shaped Frank Moorhouse and which Moorhouse himself helped to shape.

'Lamb has laid the foundation of a cumulative work that may well reach, even exceed, David Marr’s Patrick White: A Life, which many consider the high-water mark of Australian biography.'
NIGEL FEATHERSTONE, GUARDIAN

Frank Moorhouse was legendary in Australian literary and cultural life, the author of a huge and diverse body of work – essays, short stories, journalism, scripts, the iconic Edith Trilogy – an unapologetic activist, intellectual, libertarian and champion of freedom of speech and sexual self determination. Though he lived his life publicly, his private stories have not been shared, the many paths he forged left unexamined, until now.

Matthew Lamb shared many a luncheon table with Moorhouse and immersed himself in the archived life and cultural ephemera of Frank’s world. This landmark study, from Moorhouse’s own publisher, the first in a projected two volumes, is the fascinating and comprehensive story of how one of Australia’s most original writers and pioneer of the discontinuous narrative came to be.

Fearless, sardonic and utterly dedicated to his creative life, his relationships with friends, other writers and lovers were complex and long-lasting. Lamb shares the strange paths that Frank traversed and gives us a cultural history of the times that shaped Moorhouse and which Moorhouse himself helped to shape.

  • Published: 28 November 2023
  • ISBN: 9780143786122
  • Imprint: Knopf Australia
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $45.00

About the author

Matthew Lamb

Matthew Lamb is a former editor of Review of Australian Fiction and Island magazines. He has two PhDs, in Literature and Philosophy, respectively.

Praise for Frank Moorhouse: Strange Paths

The fruit of years of research, Strange Paths doesn’t just capture the career of a hugely significant Australian writer – it’s a magisterial cultural history of post-war Australia.

Geordie Williamson, The Australian

Lamb somehow allows an intimacy between Moorhouse and the reader while holding his subject at an objective distance. Lamb does justice to an extraordinary life. Writers will relish Moorhouse’s story. For readers who enjoy literary biographies, such as David Marr’s Patrick White: A life.

Becca Whitehead, Books+Publishing

In Lamb’s hands, Moorhouse was someone who would live the creative life no matter what, finding and raising his voice without constraint, all the while exposing the faultlines in Australian society. He enjoyed looking at life from different perspectives and was also a man of action: he wanted change, even if that involved being arrested. Lamb has laid the foundation of a cumulative work that may well reach, even exceed, David Marr’s Patrick White: A Life, which many consider the high-water mark of Australian biography. What Moorhouse would make of that is anyone’s guess, though, at the very least, he’d probably pour himself a martini.

Nigel Featherstone, The Guardian

Strange Paths is as much about changes in Australian print culture and sexual attitudes as it is about Moorhouse’s life. Lamb’s book is not a work of literary criticism but his care in placing Moorhouse’s writing in a detailed historical context is revelatory. It places literary writing at the centre of social change.

Susan Lever, Inside Story

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‘When the facts conflict with the legend’ – how does a biographer balance storytelling with the truth?

Matthew Lamb sheds light on the process of writing a biography about Frank Moorhouse, the contradictions in his research and his personal friendship with the author.