Dare me! The life and work of Gerald Glaskin

by John Burbidge
Foreword by Robet Dessaix

Gerald Glaskin cover‘Burbidge has done us a favour in bringing an important writer back to the spotlight, and recounting a life that reveals much about marginality in twentieth-century Australia.’
Dennis Altman, author of Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation

‘A grand story masterfully told…his management of detail is one of its strengths…quite an amazing accomplishment.’
Robert Dessaix

‘Burbidge’s biography rescues Glaskin from obscurity and uses his life to throw light on a period of Australian history that is attracting more and more attention.’
Graham Willett, President, Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives

Gerald Glaskin (1923–2000) pushed the boundaries of acceptability in what he wrote and how he wrote it. His twenty major publications—novels, short stories, travelogues, memoirs, plays and more—tackled such taboo subjects as homosexuality, incest and parapsychology.

In the aftermath of the Second World War Glaskin challenged white Australians to re-examine their attitudes to Asian and Aboriginal people, and his 1965 novel No end to the Way—initially banned in his home country—was groundbreaking in its frank and honest portrayal of a homosexual relationship.

Outside Australia, Glaskin’s books were translated into multiple languages and garnered praise from critics and readers alike. He was hailed as ‘the ace of Australian story tellers’. Yet in his home country he was, and remains, a virtual nonentity.

Why did Australia turn its back on him? Was it his delight in provoking people? Was it his audacious, belligerent and at times overbearing manner? Was he a victim of his country’s ‘tall poppy syndrome’, or of a provincial publishing industry?

This insightful biography probes the life and work of one of Australia’s most neglected writers and in so doing gives Glaskin his proper due.

Monash University Publishing, 2014. Illustrated; xx, 329 pages; 23 cm.
A$30 (A$25 to ALGA members), plus A$10 postage.


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