Fiction and reality

A biographer reflects  on George Johnston’s novel, My Brother Jack.

‘When George Johnston was calling on his memories of Jack’s deeds for the novel, he inflated everything about him, because he was attempting to build a larger-than- life character, an Australian mythic hero, out of the best qualities he identified in his brother. It was central to his character’s heroism that he should possess massive courage in the face of adversity. Jack found the novel embarrassing and ‘wrong’, when he read it, because he had not done many of the things he believed were being attributed to him. He missed the point: George was not trying to ‘tell it as it was’, but was re-creating the past in accordance with his personal vision.

Garry Kinnane, George Johnston 

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