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Problems and politics of a non-realist, fictional revisioning of the 1942 Darwin bombing

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posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by P Kay, Walter Woods
The PhD project from which this chapter is derived comprises a novel with the working title Blood and an accompanying exegesis which positions the novel generically and theoretically as well as explaining why and how it took shape as it did. The chapter circulates around two excerpts from Blood. These are some of several sections of the novel which attempt to recreate the World War II bombing of Darwin by the Japanese on 19 February 1942, which, according to a number of unconfirmed accounts, resulted in the deaths of as many as 1,500 people. Blood revisits this event, its official accounts, and the alleged cover-up which followed it, in a revisionist/interrogative spirit, through calling on the radically unsettling power inherent in magic realism, most readily associated with the literature of Latin America. The two excerpts from Blood and the contextualizing critical discussion that surrounds them seek to draw attention to a controversial but hitherto little known incident in Australian war history in a way that both uncovers scars on the Australian national psyche and highlights the often wilfully obscured hidden human cost of war. In so doing Blood seeks to make a unique contribution to Australian magic realist fiction. “In spite of their insistence on subjective myth-making, the exponents of magic realism were, nevertheless, committed to a recognisable ‘historical project’ to a confrontation with history”. (Travers, 1998, p. 220)


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)



Knight BA; Walker-Gibbs B; Delamoir J

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Post Pressed

Place of Publication

Teneriffe, Qld

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education; Intercultural Education Research Institute (IERI);

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Number of Chapters