Ross Gibson: Seven Versions of an Australian Badland

Ross Gibson’s Seven Versions of an Australian Badland is about a horror stretch of road in Queensland. It is packed full of interesting ideas but the narrative seems hurried and thus the ‘cognitive capital’ of the author diminished. What I mean by this is that it is too fragmentary and lacks authorial discipline. There are too many chapters and too many themes and the book is too small to carry them. It also on occasions seems tainted by the prose of the post colonial theorists when these ideas could have been rendered more colourfully through evocative story and metaphor. But the idea of an Australian Badland free from the useful narrative of European colonialism is a wonderful one but I wish that this book had have unpacked the stories and embellished them with more fatty beef (obviously not from the badlands).