Street to Street is one of Brian Castro’s best books yet, a comic-tragic enactment of the anxieties of the writing life, in which the early twentieth-century Sydney poet Christopher Brennan plays a major role. A legendary figure, with a commanding knowledge of classical and European poetry, Brennan wrote some of the most powerful poems in Australian literature. He died an impoverished alcoholic at the age of sixty-one. Castro’s double portrait of the poet and his biographer, the writer-academic Brendan Costa, plays on the disappointment, the guilt, the lack of recognition, which troubles those who live by their imaginations. The novella is the perfect form for Castro’s purpose, its compression heightening the wit and energy of his prose, and his remarkable feel for the embarrassments of character.
Brian Castro is the author of the prize-winning Australian classic Shanghai Dancing, and recipient of the 2014 Patrick White Literary Award. His novels include The Garden Book and The Bath Fugues, both shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and Street to Street, loosely based on the life of the poet Christopher Brennan. His most recent work, a verse novel titled Blindness and Rage, won the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry and the Mascara Avant-garde Award for Fiction.
Giramondo has now published seven titles in Giramondo Shorts, a new series of short form, short print run books, designed to take account of the new technologies of digital printing, and to appeal to a community of literary readers. The series carries a quote from Les Murray’s poem ‘The Dream of Wearing Shorts Forever’: ‘it is […]