Their Brilliant Careers: The Fantastic Lives of Sixteen Extraordinary Australian Writers

Ryan O'Neill

Their Brilliant Careers: The Fantastic Lives of Sixteen Extraordinary Australian Writers
  • Format
  • Publisher
  • Country
  • Published
  • Pages
  • ISBN

Their Brilliant Careers: The Fantastic Lives of Sixteen Extraordinary Australian Writers

Ryan O'Neill

Ryan O'Neill has written a hilarious novel in the guise of sixteen biographies of (invented) Australian writers. Meet Rand Washington, hugely popular science fiction author (of Whiteman of Cor) and holder of extreme views on race and gender. Meet Rachel Deverall, who discovers the secret female source of the great literature of our time - and pays a terrible price for her discovery. Their Brilliant Careers is a playful set of stories, linked in many ways, which together form a memorable whole.

Review

In Their Brilliant Careers, Ryan O’Neill combines conventions of biography and short story in an exhaustively brazen blend of Australian literary history and plausible yet gloriously bonkers invention. Each of these connected stories is a mini-biography of an imaginary Australian literary figure that has been, purportedly, under-celebrated or forgotten. O’Neill has added an entirely new dimension to the existing literary landscape and woven his characters through one another’s stories.

O’Neill details the absurdities of human endeavour and ambition; he spares no-one, least of all himself. Readers will be amused by the fabricated antics of thinly disguised versions of Australian literary figures, and will recognise other names where reality and imagination intersect. While the intensely intertextual nature of this collection will reward the well-read, the stories also work as tight, standalone comic pieces in their own right. Readers less interested in the dissection of reference and fact from fiction will enjoy these stories for their satire, vivid characters and galloping plots.

O’Neill’s parodies of sacred works and traditions within Australian literature – from seminal voices of the bush who have never been further afield than Sydney, to digs such as ‘ruhtrA’s attack achieved the near impossible: it united the poetry world, against him.’ – are hilarious. It’s impossible to even think of several of these parodic works without laughing out loud (most notably anything relating to the excruciating success of Pa and Pete). One cannot help suspecting that in the biography of Rachel Deverall, O’Neill referred to the likely experience of readers of his own work when he wrote: ‘Despite her fatigue, Deverall stayed up all night to finish the story. It was well written and entertaining, stuffed with unbelievable incidents and action, and without a doubt the most derivative book she had ever read.’


Elke Power is the editor of Readings Monthly.

This item is in-stock and will ship in 1-2 business days

Our stock data is updated overnight, and availability may change throughout the day for in-demand items. Please call the relevant shop for the most current stock information. Prices are subject to change without notice.

Sign in or become a Readings Member to add this title to a wishlist.

 Read reviewAn Isolated Incident

An Isolated Incident

Emily Maguire

An Isolated Incident is a psychological thriller about everyday violence, the media's obsession with pretty dead girls, the grip of grief and the myth of closure, and the difficulties of knowing the difference between a ghost and...

$19.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

Extinctions

Extinctions

Josephine Wilson

Humorous, poignant and galvanising by turns, Extinctions is a novel about all kinds of extinction - natural, racial, national and personal - and what we can do to prevent them.

$29.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

Waiting

Waiting

Philip Salom

Big is a hefty cross-dresser and Little is little. Both are long used to the routines of boarding house life in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, but Little, with the prospect of an inheritance, is worrying Big with by indulging in...

$29.95Buy now

Finding stock availability...

 Read reviewTheir Brilliant Careers: The Fantastic Lives of Sixteen Extraordinary Australian Writers

Their Brilliant Careers: The Fantastic Lives of Sixteen Extraordinary Australian Writers

Ryan O'Neill

Absurd, original and highly addictive ... In Their Brilliant Careers, Ryan O'Neill has written a hilarious novel in the guise of sixteen biographies of (invented) Australian writers. Meet Rachel Deverall, who discovered the...

$27.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

The Last Days Of Ava Langdon

The Last Days Of Ava Langdon

Mark O'Flynn

Ava Langdon is often not herself. Having fled her early life in New Zealand and endured the loss of her children, she now lives as a recluse in the Blue Mountains. Regarded by locals as a colourful eccentric, she dresses in men's...

$29.95Buy now

Finding stock availability...

 Special priceThe Miles Franklin Literary Award 2017 shortlist pack

The Miles Franklin Literary Award 2017 shortlist pack

This pack contains all five books shortlisted for the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award

$115.00Buy now

Finding stock availability...