The Outcasts of Foolgarah by Frank Hardy
When the funniest and most outrageous book ever published in Australia came out, it could have only one author's name on it.
Frank Hardy has written it with an unerring sense of the ludicrous and a gusto restrained by neither common sense nor good taste. His exuberant irreverence stops at nothing an no-one, including himself. His enthusiasm carries him far beyond the dictates of any kind of lawful writing.
His setting is the physical and spiritual milieu of the garbage and night soil collectors, a shrewd choice to provide a an alibi, not only for his earthy and often underground phraseology, but for his main task of cleansing his liver entertainingly in front of a paying audience.
Needles to say, there is a message behind the poisonous fumes. Hardy resents that power corrupts and authorities bungle, that the Silver Tails bludge and exploit, that establishments are anxious to perpetuate themselves, that the workers are merely hostile dependants unless they’re are made outcasts when the crunch comes. Above all, he resents that the repressive tolerance of the affluent society builds in dissent, snuffs out revolt and turns the intelligentsia into beggars and sycophants.
He does not really argue his case, he just oozes or gushes denunciations, poised on a rickety soapbox made of fact, fantasy and opinion.
Amid the furore the book is bound to create, the superb literary skill Hardy has brought to bear on this theme will be overlooked (as was the case with Power Without Glory). The style is unique, somersaulting from bawdy Australian idiom into Rabelaisian irony and, at times, sheer poetry.
Geoffrey Dutton has described the book as: “more genuinely Australian than THE WEIRD MOB and much wider in the range of its humour and satire than HERE'S LUCK... THE WEIRD MOB caught the idiom but flattered us, Hardy knows the idiom even better and doesn't flatter anyone...In its fundamental structure the book is a kind of Rabelaisian Aesop’s fable, a symbolic picture of a crazy world, a sort of an allegory.
The novel opens with a warning that people who identify with any of the characters do so at their own risk.
When you read about a boozy bird-happy Prime Minster, addicted to involuted obscure officialese, who is eventually replaced by Sir William Bigears, the pseudonym Sneed Hearn no longer throws you of the scent.
Softback - Excellent condition
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