Angelaki 26 (2):124-134 (2021)

Abstract
John Kinsella’s achievement as a poet has overshadowed his fiction. But his narrative accomplishment is a considerable one. Whereas his poetry is usually classified as either experimental or “dark pastoral,” the fiction evades these kinds of categorizations. This essay delineates Kinsella’s fictional oeuvre, from the estrangements of his short stories to his recent series of short novels, novellas, and full-length novels, all of which feature a protagonist who is a version of himself, a Kinsella manqué, deployed against various speculative futuristic, or conjectural backdrops. This technique enables both a searing social interrogation and a questioning of the privileged self in light of racism, sexism, and white settler arrogance. Kinsella’s fiction often rewrites anterior texts or received genres. But, unlike so much other Australian fiction, it does not simply write into the global market or attempt to temporarily reanimate received paradigms. Kinsella’s fictions, such as Hollow Earth, Django & Jezebel, and Basket Z, are not conventional novels. But they provide a satisfying narrative through-line even as they prod the reader to think about their own place in the text and in the world.
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DOI 10.1080/0969725x.2021.1892394
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