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Book DetailsISBN: 9781922079893
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Book Review: My Beautiful Enemy by Cory Taylor - Reviewed by CloggieA (24 Apr 2013)
My Beautiful Enemy is the second novel by Australian author, Cory Taylor. The story is narrated by Arthur Wheeler who was, in 1945, a seventeen-year-old Army guard at Tatura, an Internment camp for Japanese in Victoria. There he met Stanley Ueno, a fifteen-year-old detainee, and “…..my heart had effectively melted inside me.” What follows, in prose that is often achingly beautiful, is Arthur’s recollection of the overwhelming effect this love/infatuation/obsession had on his life. Arthur’s internal conflict between his sexuality and his upbringing is superbly rendered. Taylor effectively conveys the xenophobic and homophobic attitudes that prevailed at the time and will have the reader thinking about the rationale of internment camps and the experience of the detainees themselves. Taylor’s descriptive prose is occasionally breathtaking: “….people milling about in the station. I envied them. They all had trains to catch and places to be while I sat marooned, my mother beside me, the past threatening to eviscerate the two of us in its huge maw.” But ultimately, this story is full of emotion and feeling: most readers will come to the end with a lump in the throat and an ache in the heart. Beautifully crafted, indescribably sad.
Cory Taylor was born in Queensland in 1955. She was an award-winning novelist and screenwriter who also published short fiction and children's books. Her first novel, Me and Mr Booker, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Pacific Region) in 2012 and her second novel, My Beautiful Enemy, was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2014. She died on 5 July 2016, just months after Dying: A Memoir was published.
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