Invisible Ink: No 122 - Gerald Gaskin
Sunday 06 May 2012
In the world of invisible authors, few can vanish more completely than those whose choice of subject matter goes against the morality of the times.
Gerald Glaskin was born in 1923 in the so-called "Cinderella State" of Western Australia, but like many young Australians he chose to join the navy and leave his homeland, probably due to the oppressive atmosphere of machismo that left a rather theatrical gay youngster feeling trapped and resented by his six siblings. It didn't help that he was charged with indecent exposure in Perth, in circumstances that sound similar to the UK's "pretty police" entrapment policy of the 1980s.
During recuperation from an injury sustained while in the military he began to write. His first novel, A World Of Our Own, about the lives of recently demobbed soldiers, was published in London and won the Commonwealth Literary Prize in 1955.
Although he made extended stays in Asia and the Netherlands, he usually returned to the surfing beach-life of his homeland. But by this time he had begun to write about subjects that would further isolate him in Australia; youthful suicide, incest, homosexuality, and the mistreatment of Aboriginal natives. His books were reviewed with a level of animosity that suggested small-town critics didn't take kindly to castigation from a worldly, intelligent mind.
Glaskin was a partner in Perth's only late-night café, The Coffee Pot, which became a meeting place for bohemians, students and migrants. Like most great jobbing writers he covered an extensive range of subjects and styles, producing short stories, novels, poetry, tales of espionage, science fiction, autobiography, popular fiction and volumes of spiritual guidance. His children's novel A Walk Through The Hills was filmed in 1989.
Glaskin's biggest success had to be written under the pseudonym of Neville Jackson because it positively depicted a gay love affair, and was lightly based on his own life with his partner. No End To The Way was published in the UK to critical acclaim and is one of the few popular successes ever written in the second person. The book was promptly banned in Australia, and could not be shipped over due to censorship laws, so publisher Corgi chartered planes and flew copies in instead.
As a result, Glaskin is still better known in the UK than in his native land. He's entirely out of print, but collectors of iconic paperback covers can seek out the sexy design created by Corgi.
Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandalbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scientists create transparent mouse complete with see-through organs
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 Putin v Obama: Russian deputy prime minister mocks president with catty pictures on Twitter
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
Game of Thrones actress Aimee Richardson begs for 'other princess work' after Myrcella Baratheon part is recast
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in August 2014
Cultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
The Walking Dead season 5 will see deaths of 'favourite characters', suggests Andrew Lincoln
Edinburgh Festival 2014: Israeli show The City pulled after pro-Palestinian protests
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >