Bodysurfers Epub µ


10 thoughts on “Bodysurfers

  1. says:

    Disappointing 'His characters repeatedly hurl themselves at life and lovers There is something very powerful and poignant in these stories' so says one reviewerFor me though overall I found something ambiguous and essential lacking in the stories They let me down severely with too few satisfactory resolutions Maybe that is what short stories are supposed to be about to leave you wondering? I don’t know I like a good twist at the end but this selection left me floundering like a fish washed up and gasping on the shore Mostly it wasn’t a good place I was left in Drewe does blend character development with absorbing scenarios Whilst each tale is different they all leave you pondering with deliberately loose ends to be considered The Bodysurfers vividly evokes the beach with the scent of the suntan oil the sting of the sun and a lazy sensuality but actually suggest a deep undercurrent of a sickly suburban malaise I start to like each story but by the end I’m left with a bitter after taste that I can’t uite put my finger on The Bodysurfers in locating stories at the coast the depiction of beach scenes in story after story soon suggests a preoccupation; In ‘Looking for Malibu’ Peter Boyle expounds his theory on the beach‘You know something? When Australians run away they always run to the coast They can’t help it An American vanishes he could be living in New Mexico Arizona Colorado the mountains the desert anywhere Not an Australian – he goes up the coast or down the coast and thinks he’s vanished without a trace’ In ‘Shark Logic’ for instance the protagonist who has fled his family has wound up on Australia’s Pacific coast where he dreams of escape to New Zealand “I was thinking about New Zealand when I left the shop this afternoon and set off for my usual walk along the beach”Drewe’s collection opens with ‘The Manageress and the Mirage’ set on the West Australian coast from where “the Indian Ocean stretched flat and slick to Mauritius and beyond before curving into the sky”Despite the fact that Mauritius is thousands of miles across the ocean for Drewe the beaches of Western Australia suggest it The Bodysurfers mentions far off islands and continents hinting at Australia’s and New Zealand’s geographical isolation and the intensity with which escape is longed for The beach as escape is not only signalled by its relative proximity to other places However Drewe marks the beach as the place at which illicit sexual activity occurs and in so doing contribute to a convention that has its origins at least two hundred years before them in the writing spawned by European exploration of the Pacific Commentators on Australian and New Zealand writing of the twentieth century also see the beach as the site of carnal pleasureDrewe exploits the sexual aspect of beach culture Nude bathers crowd his beaches ‘The Manageress and the Mirage’ finishes with a widower’s encounter with a new lover ‘The Silver Medallist’ closes with the revelation of the incestuous character of the relationship between a lifesaver and his daughter ‘The View from the Sandhills’ is the account of a pervert and ex prisoner who spies on nude bathers The preoccupation with what is often very casual sexual activity is a steady stream of foundering marriages The one married couple to survive an entire story together in the collection – Angela and David in ‘Looking for Malibu’ It’s kind of a sad statistic I thinkAgainst this backdrop of marital discord the sex at the beach promises freedom from the constraints and disappointments of the domestic life without ever uite delivering it The beach screaming of escape is no mere playground but essentially ambiguous in its significance I was drawn to the cover illustration first A painting by Charles Meere Australia 1890–1961 ”Australian beach pattern” aka “Beach Pattern” which won the 1940 Sulman Prize exhibition It was Meeres’ painting that prompted me to pick up the book Meere was one of a group of Sydney artists whose work modernised classical artistic traditions as a means of imaging national life during the inter war period The epitome of his vision by the late 1930s is 'Australian beach pattern'; a tableau of beach dwellers whose athletic perfections take on monumental heroic proportions Meere created a crowded and complex composition through a pattern of bodies which appear as a still life of suspended strength Perennially popular the painting has contributed than any other in Australian art towards the myth of the healthy young nation as told through the metaphor of the tanned god like body of the sunbatherI wanted to really love this book here was an Australian writer who had won the Walkley and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin The problem for me with “The BodySurfers” is that the characters in the stories are not godlike and only superficially depict that myth of the healthy young nation and I don’t mean physical but morally There is a good articleinterview with Drewe here Drewe was born in Melbourne Australia in 1943 He grew up and was educated in Western Australia where he took up journalism with the West Australian in 1961 He was the literary editor for the Australian from 1971 to 1974 He won the Walkley Award Australia's highest such award twice for journalism in 1976 and 1981 Drewe's novel The Drowner was shortlisted for the 1997 Miles Franklin Award Fortune won the National Book Council fiction prize in Australia One of his anthologies The Bay of Contented Men won a Commonwealth Writers' Prize while another the best seller The Bodysurfers has been adapted for film television radio and stage Robert Drewe is also a film critic playwright and the author of several screenplays His stage drama South American Barbecue was first performed in 1991


  2. says:

    10 November 2015 minor edits and I have added a uote I had noted earlier my notes are on bits of paper everywhere and I keep finding them later HrumfphThis collection started off with a thrill but gradually became repetitious and surprisingly distasteful The stories are linked thematically in two ways perhaps three First and most obviously they are set on the coast by the sea and uite often in the sea That’s fine it’s Australia the most urbanised country of any size on the planet and most of us live on the coast At one stage one of the characters says of Australians fleeing capture or wishing to lose themselves that they head for the coast whereas Americans might head inland Don’t know whether it’s true but it rings true There is a poignant story Shark Logic about a headmaster who flees to a small coastal town to run away from the financial ruin he has created and wrestles with getting in touch with his wife and family How could you leave your children?The second thematic link is the Lang family – uite a number of the stories feature different members of the family through different generations in different places and different circumstancesAt first I thought this was a terrific idea but then found it an annoying distraction trying to work out how the relations fitted together Then I realised that it did not actually matter the stories are pretty independent of each other and with a couple of exceptions would have worked just as well with different names One of the exceptions is a story of an affair featuring a bottle of baby oil Baby Oil told from the perspective of the man having the affair This has a bitterly satisfying twist A later story After Noumea features the woman’s partner Brian and the unhinging impact the affair has on him This is uite a bitter story and illustrates the dichotomy between dream and reality Anthea's dream is to buy a coastal hideaway for Brian so he could work and they could swim and frolic in the sun Doesn't turn out uite that way 'They made soft romantic plans and stayed in the hard city' p73 This is also a satisfyingly mystifying tale Drewe regularly makes the reader workI think the third thematic element is disintegration – of relationships personal well being self respect moral probity respect for women Disintegration with an air of desperationOne of the early stories The Silver Medallist features a former Olympic swimmer and his attractive teenage daughter He has a business on the beach hiring euipment and selling suntan oil His glory days are well and truly over and his focus has become sadly and odiously narrow He is humiliated by a turkey It’s a terrific storyThen follow a series of tales along the thematic lines I have described Others have done excellent critiues of many of these stories A number are uite good I uite liked The last Explorer for the contrast in style and sentiment an old pioneering explorer looks to the dry inland rather than the coastHowever the cumulative effect of the collection is to leave a bitter taste Perhaps these stories should be read at intervals rather than straight through but as I say they get off to a good start but end up sour The cover illustration the painting Australia Beach Pattern by Charles Meere is miraculous


  3. says:

    Jesus Christ this was testing I wanted to like it so bad and the writing style itself is from time to time skillful and descriptive HoweverThe entire time all I was thinking to myself was like my god did this book single handedly invent the male gaze? I thought it was kind of a joke that male writers focus so aggressively on breasts when describing women but this took it to a level I could barely accept as being stylisticFor example get a load of this passage that made me want to die She removed her bikini top and her breasts uivering the nipples wide and brown in the sun she sat down Reaching for the suntan cream from her bag she rubbed some briskly into her breasts with a studious circular motion paying attention to the nipplesDavidhad never realised how much her naked breasts actually moved They had three definite motions they were simultaneously bouncing swinging and shiveringLydia flicked a grain of sand from one glistening aureoleIn another passage he waxes lyrical about how a woman is perched archly on the rocks with her high brown breasts pointing across the Pacific to New Zealand They're doing what sorry?Trying to read a book where you have the distinct impression that the author had his dick out the entire time he was writing it was for me an extremely unpleasant experience I learned nothing about the characters other than the fact that they were all mean and horny and gained no insight into the world except for the fact that most people are at the end of the day mean and also horny Such a shame that something I so thoroughly did not enjoy was written set entirely in the places I spent almost all of my young lifeOn a systematic level I had trouble keeping my attention from story to story I think I understand the short story collection decision for this particular general narrative but I just didn't enjoy the way it was laid out it felt disjointed and I just ended up getting bored It somehow managed to feel too long even though my copy was only about 160 pages longHated it How is this in the Penguin Classics collection


  4. says:

    This is really only a review for the title story of the book as it's one of a list of short stories that I was given to choose from to read for school I've not read the rest yet though likely I will once I get the timeOf the four that I chose this one Closer by David Malouf Postcards from Surfers by Helen Garner and for a bit of something different The Landlady by Roald Dahl this is the one that I have the most conflicted feelings about The story seems to be attempting a lot of things Whether or not it succeeds I'm really not sure because it is bizarre and kind of weirdly sexist to the point of distractionIt begins by telling us about a macabre murder that took place near the beach shack where the main character David his girlfriend and his children are going for the weekend a couple of days beforehand This murder is referenced a few times later on as it has understandably affected David uite a bit Then we have some character interactions which are interesting enough and the family heads down to the beachNow from the other reviews I gather that this book does deal uite consistently with sexuality and perversity I don't have a problem with this kind of thing but this was downright weird David's girlfriend Lisa goes topless on a public beach Following this is uite a detailed description of her rubbing suntan lotion into her breasts The only real comment is David being well not embarrassed but slightly unnerved and checking where his teenaged son is looking — this trip I might add is the first time Lisa has met his children Then thisI wonder if women know what they're doing David wondered How did those tits which had been used to sexually tempt him at 300 am suddenly at 1130 become as neutral as elbows? He was awestruck by the grey areas the skating over the 180 degree turns that women made these days The breakup and his new status or lack of status had made him hypersensitive to the female dichotomies — fashion versus politics the desperate clash between ideals and glands — and their magical sleight of hand which not only hid it all and kept the audience clapping but left you with a coin up your nose or an egg in your earWhat?No no seriously what?Redundant first sentence aside there is so much strange in there coupled with odd little sexist sentiments tits which had been used to sexually tempt him? desperate clash between ideals and glands? that I really don't know how to approach it Like at all He portrays Lisa as being little than a sexual thrill seeking being And how can you generalise about all women in the context of this particular incident? I know very few women who would ever regard breasts being as neutral as elbows in any context In fact this entire story deals a lot with female sexuality the female who was murdered was being tested to see if she'd been assaulted his ten year old daughter who is growing breasts and impersonates a supermodel and wants her ears pierced the son who used the word vagina and upset the daughter the REALLY REALLY WEIRD dream at the end where his mother has some kind of an implied thing going on with a dolphin but not in a way that rings true to me even remotelyAnd yeah that dream That dream that just pops up out of nowhere at the end of the story The dream where he goes to some beachside place called Aurora and there are King Neptune statues and his mother talks to dolphins in French who talk back and does this' Je t'aime' she murmured to Jason one of the dolphins unnecessarily I thought raking her inch long red nails down his tongue He crooned appreciativelyYup I think at this point the uotes speak for themselves I'll end this review which funnily enough is the most fully fledged review I've written and yet it's for a single short story with David's dream mother's final contextless statement'You know something?' my mother said to me conversationally and the sunlight on the sheen of her swimsuit was so glaring it hurt my eyes 'It may be perpetual summer here but I'm against adultery''Who isn't Mum? I said'So put that in your pipe and smoke it' she saidIndeed dolphin loving shiny Aurora dream mother Indeed


  5. says:

    I might've rated this lower immediately after reading but the collection has continued to resonate I picked up the Pocket Book edition on a whim during a layover in Sydney It's cultural treasure trove Drewe's portrayals of unattainable masculinity in Australia vividly evoked people I met during my travels For an American already perplexed by masculine identities in the States The Bodysurfers shed welcome light on those darn Aussie men It's a classic absolutely


  6. says:

    35 StarsDrewe does an admirable job of capturing scenes from various corners of coastal Australia with even one from California thrown into the mix too This is his first collection of short stories first published back in 1983 and almost all of them are still relevant and relatable as they were back then These stories may be short but they manage to penetrate deeper into some interesting and memorable places and spaces and so we get a feel for time place and culture without falling into clichéd pitfalls or other Aussie stereotypes which makes this a rewarding and refreshing collection


  7. says:

    This was a bit unexpected as I had not realised that this is short story collection I know there has been a tv series so I was a bit surprised as most of these stories have little to connect them apart from the beach setting they share I'm assuming that the tv series is only loosely based on the bookThe blurb says the stories follow a family through three generations but I really didn't pick up on a generational theme at all maybe I wasn't paying attention and maybe it really wasn't relevant to the stories being told?These stories could really be set on any Australian beach at almost any time they are stories of life love isolation heartbreak and change and death Little glances into everyday life of ordinary people


  8. says:

    Gutsy and often hilarious in it’s portrayals of mostly frustrated lives seeking satisfaction in 80’s Australia I enjoyed stepping so easily back into that era More languor Less PC observances No mobile phones Baby oil and ChablisThere’s something satisfyingly honest about these stories and characters The ever present coastal backdrop teases throughout with it’s promise of providing a kind of graceful liberation to all who seek it but as often as much plays the role of witness to all that is desperate uneasy and banal in our rootless culture Shit things are not meant to happen at the beach but they often do and we can readily relate to the disappointments


  9. says:

    Three and a half stars for meDrewe’s short story collection was printed in the eighties and I could tell It reminded me in style and characters of a few of the books my boyfriend told me I just had to read back then When I did I disagreed with him Whingey blokes a grown man still upset by his parents divorce a perv harassing women ‘tits’ etcmeh The stories have mixed uality so some are really uite good but ultimately this is another case of ‘its well written but it’s not for me’ Note There is a disturbing yet excellent story half way through about a pervert who likes hanging around the nude beach It captured a type so well brilliant but chillingAlso published on my blog The Long Hot Spell


  10. says:

    Short stories well executed are like little intrusions into a life Wonderful stuff


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Bodysurfers 'These stories breathe Taut yet teeming with life they are shot through with gritty phrases that catch at one's throat' Sydney Morning HeraldSet among the surf and sandhills of the Australian beach and the tidal changes of three generations of the Lang family this bestselling collection of short stories is an Australian classic The Bodysurfers vividly evokes the beach with the scent of the suntan oil the sting of the sun and a lazy sensuality all the while hinting at a deep undercurrent of suburban malaiseFrom first publication these poignant and seductive stories marked a major change in Australian literature from penguincomau

  • Bodysurfers
  • Robert Drewe
  • 03 September 2015
  • 9780949493026

About the Author: Robert Drewe

Robert Drewe is among Australia’s most loved writers – of novels memoir and short stories His iconic Australian books include The Shark Net The Bodysurfers and Our Sunshine He is also editor of Black Inc’s Best Australian Stories annual series Recently he has revisited the short story himself with a masterful new collection The Rip Jo Case spoke to him for Readings about storytelling