Mandy Beaumont’s short-story collection, Wild, Fearless Chests, is published by Hachette. She is a PhD student at RMIT and is working on her first novel.
Mockingbird Wish Me Luck
Regarded as a wildly misogynist writer, I am often asked, as a writer of feminist fiction, why I love Bukowski’s work so much. I agree that his work reeks of the subjugation of women, but I also think his ability as a craftsman to write beauty among the pain of living was masterful. He can bring sad beauty to the page like no one else I’ve read, and in this book of poetry, he does this so very well. It’s perhaps his best book.
Mandy Beaumont read Henry Miller’s Sexus when she was 13.Credit:
The way he wrote place in such a grungy and real way about my home town of Brisbane was so important to me as a developing writer. He is, for me, the best writer Australia ever had, and Praise was both his ultimate homage to my home town, as well as a lesson for me in how to write about real, lived experiences. I think about his writing each time I sit down to write.
I found this book in my father’s bookcase when I was 13 and the way Miller wrote about sex blew my mind. Sexus explores love, relationships and self-liberation in a gritty 1920s Brooklyn. The seemingly effortless ease in which Miller wrote has had a huge impact on me, and I am forever trying for the same effortless ease when writing on heavy, philosophical and often controversial topics. I also often find myself morphing his themes through a feminist lens into my own fiction.
In Lolita, Nabokov uses the ‘‘unreliable narrator’’ with such convincing power that the reader is left feeling this is an ‘‘erotic novel’’, which for me, in the context of the book being about a grown man’s sexual ‘‘relationship’’ with a 12-year-old girl, demonstrates Nabokov’s masterful skill as a writer. He uses and plays with language to excite and build meaning throughout. It is phenomenal writing, and this book taught me how to excite, scare and move the reader through language and technique on themes that are often challenging.
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