> Skip to content

Who else, but a writer, is really able to interrogate the work of other writers?

Who else, but a writer, is really able to interrogate the work of other writers?

From Christina Stead, Les Murray and Patrick White to Proust, Shakespeare and Charlotte Bronte, David Malouf reads and examines the work of writers who have challenged, inspired and entertained us for generations. He also explores his own work and the life of the writer, where the ever-present danger is spending too much time talking about writing and not enough doing it.

These alternative views of some of our best-loved writers and readers will send us scurrying back to read Jane Eyre, Kipling and of course, David Malouf.

Reviews

Best book of 2015.

Sonia Lee, Gleaner

An elegant and sustained examination of one question: what does it mean to be a writer? To read this book is to be inspired, and how could you not be when you read, now, with the sense of a benevolent and polymath reader, considered and considerate, just there, at your shoulder, to help you along? David Malouf is tops; he’s a boon to our myriad imaginary lives.

Ashley Hay, The Australian

Malouf posits a 'writing self' and a 'reading self', recognising them as distinct but complementary entities, and throught The Writing Life they are engaged in an illuminating conversation. His critical analysis includes autobiographical details, as if part of a work's significance is the effect it has had on him. Among Malouf's many writing identities - novelist, poet, memoirist, librettist - that of the literary critic might seem to be the least of his achievements, but The Writing Life demonstrates what an attentive and thoughtful reader he is. These essays not only offer interpretations of some of the great writers who have shaped Malouf's sensibility, they are themselves part of a literary 'process of discovery'.

James Ley, The Sydney Morning Herald

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780857984074

    October 1, 2015

    Vintage Australia

    352 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9780857984081

    October 1, 2014

    Knopf Australia

    352 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780857984098

    October 1, 2014

    RHA eBooks Adult

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by David Malouf

The One Day: Short Black 7
Being There
A First Place
Earth Hour
Harland's Half Acre
The Conversations At Curlew Creek
The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World
The Happy Life: The Search of Contentment in the Modern World: QuarterlyEssay 41
Ransom
The Complete Stories
On Experience
Revolving Days: Selected Poems
Every Move You Make
Typewriter Music
Made in England: Australia's British Inheritance: Quarterly Essay 12
Dream Stuff
Johnno
Jane Eyre
The Great World
12 Edmondstone Street
Antipodes
Fly Away Peter
An Imaginary Life
Child's Play

Recommendations

Meditations
Nineteen Eighty Four
The Little Prince: Popular Penguins
Mao's Last Dancer
The Crucible
Dracula
Crime And Punishment
The Odyssey
The Odyssey
The Annotated Big Sleep
Culture and Society
Late Essays
Parting Words
Cantonese Love Stories: Penguin Specials
A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work
The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables
The Bughouse
The People Elsewhere
The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall
Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty and Truth