Q: Who is your favourite author or has influenced your writing?|
My Answer: A former Australian Ambassador in Vienna, James William Cumes, has written a book Haverleigh. One day soon this story about WWII and Kokoda Trail will become an epic like ‘A Fortunate Life’ by Facey. I am still amazed that it was an Australian writer, Thomas Kennealy, rather than some European writers who weaved a testing tale about the Czechoslovak, part saint and part sinner, Schindler.
As far back as I can remember I have felt James Cumes' Haverleigh had the soul and guts and truth of a classic of Australian Literature. Haverleigh is a lot of things. It's a love story, a war story, the story of an improbable and impossible era peopled with all too probable, all too possible, all too real human beings. It's fraught with pain and love and irony and affection and disaffection. You will be different for having immersed yourself in it.
Reareading Review of "Haverleigh"
What was also enjoyable about so much of the book was how familiar it all seemed. The author has captured so much of the Australia we all know, an enormous amount in fact: the Aussie battler who makes good and develops an empire but who doesn't forget his mates and his beginnings, our love of travel, life in the crucible of a small country town, immigrants from far and wide who make a successful new life for themselves, the politics surrounding the Vietnam War, Australians' ability to swear, the change in the standard of living in Australia between the 1930's and the 80's, the ups and downs in the economy and how we rode the stock market, and a dozen different relationships that all have a certain familiar ring to them either because we've been there ourselves or we know someone who has or we've seen it on TV or at the movies!
Haverleigh is a great read for a weekend at home. It could easily
be the script for a mini series and who knows, maybe one day it will be just that!
Review by Bronwyn Mitterecker
From Bookworm, in The Australian Connection September 2003
· Hot Off the Press: To Have or Not to Have [James Cumes, born and bred . Beenleigh ]