June 1st 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Scomo routs Labor, the Green, GetUp and the left-wing media by Patrick J. Byrne and Peter Westmore

CANBERRA OBSERVED Surprise! Polls aren't what they used to be

GENDER POLITICS The true cost of childhood gender reassignment

OBITUARY Bob Hawke, R.I.P.: astute politician, flawed policies

POETRY AND SOCIETY T.S. Eliot and the modern condition

WATER POLICY The time is ripe to revisit the Bradfield scheme

ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwan upgrades U.S. links, asserts sovereignty

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Recapping the trial as Cardinal Pell's appeal approaches

THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY Working to bring down the Sexual Revolution

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki Part 2: Science and ancient cultures

HUMOUR A tidy planet is a happy planet

MUSIC Charles Ives: Modern elements aimed at sounding good

CINEMA John Wick 1: The lighting of the fuse

BOOK REVIEW Novelised true crime a true thriller

BOOK REVIEW The experiences of Phoebe Raye

POETRY

LETTERS

FEDERAL ELECTION Queensland voted for jobs, life and country

NATIONAL AFFAIRS The trial of Cardinal Pell ... an injustice

EUTHANASIA D Day - June 19, 2019 - Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 begins operation

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BOOK REVIEW
The experiences of Phoebe Raye




News Weekly, June 1, 2019

BY VIOLENCE UNAVENGED: In the Hearts of Kings, volume 1

by Annette Young

Distant Prospect Publishing, Lorn, NSW
Hardcover/Paperback: 474 pages
Price: Hardcover: AUD$49.95; Paperback: AUD$34.95
Available also as an ebook for Kindle, Kobo and Google Play
Preorder now from any bookseller, or from the author at annetteyoung.net (signed to Australian addresses)

Reviewed by John Young

Phoebe Raye was one of the principal characters in the author’s previous novel, A Distant Prospect. She is the leading character in the present work, which begins some years earlier than A Distant Prospect, and continues on beyond that work.

We are told how the principal characters fared, but it is Phoebe who is centre stage in the present work, which is the first of a trilogy. The early chapters are set in Sydney, then the action moves overseas, with the later chapters centred on Vienna.

From Phoebe’s childhood onwards, her character develops through the incidents in her life and her relationships with others. A critical event is the death of her mother, and Phoebe’s conviction that she was murdered by Phoebe’s aunt. This impels her to search for the aunt and bring her to justice, a search that takes her overseas.

The novel is a study of the interactions of the many characters among themselves and particularly with Phoebe, and of the historical events in which they were involved, especially in Austria during the 1930s as Hitler menaced the country.

Various political and religious questions are debated by the diverse characters, including different attitudes to the Jews. Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum gets a mention.

One of the principal characters, Hubie, who has considered a vocation to the priesthood, is strongly Catholic in his beliefs, and praises the Holy Roman Empire.

He says: “The defence of the Church and her members, in war and in peace, has always been relevant.” (p202)

Phoebe is a Catholic who gave up her faith, but is moving back towards it. She confronts various moral issues, including her fierce compulsive urge to punish the aunt whom she believes is her mother’s murderer, even wanting to kill her.

This book is very well researched, inc­luding its account of the brutal repression of the Austrian people just before the outbreak of World War II, with the Jews as a special target. The various passages in German, without a translation, may bother some readers, although the author makes the meaning clear by the context, and there is a glossary.

Regarding Phoebe’s personal life, two men fall in love with her: Kerem, who is a Muslim, and the Austrian Catholic Hubie. She would marry Kerem if he asked her, which seems surprising, as she doesn’t know him well.

The numerous characters are depicted clearly, with the interactions between them, and their varied views give a good overall picture. But I found Hubie too didactic, with his long statements, as if he were lecturing a class.

There is something, of the same in her other love interest, Kerem, as when he writes: “Phoebe, sometimes love is rough-hewn; other times it glitters; in either way, it requires cutting and polishing to reveal its splendour. Like a jewel, it has many facets of which feelings are merely a part.” (p344)

By Violence Unavenged is written in the first person by Phoebe, years after the events narrated there. No doubt she had matured greatly in the intervening years, for many passages, such as the following, show a more mature mind than she seemed to have when these events occurred.

“According to the Angelic Doctor, grace perfects nature, by which I understand that God works with the stuff of each human soul. Given our individuality, I suppose the process of perfection is unique to every person.” (p389)

By Violence Unavenged, with its rich variety of characters, its presentation of contrasting views about moral and social issues, its discussion of important historical events, can be highly recommended.

Annette Young lets her characters speak for themselves, but it is clear that she has a balanced and perceptive understanding of human nature and a sound philosophy of life. It is clear also that she has done a great deal of research and put a great deal of thought into her novel.

It is also refreshing to find a modern novel that avoids the crude and blasphemous expressions that disfigure so much recent fiction.

I look forward to reading the continuations of the adventure in the next two volumes.


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