by John wi Hookey
The author, John Hookey, was born in 1969 in Melbourne, where his first novel to large extent plays out .After schooling at a private Anglican school he attended Trinity College at Melbourne University, studying law and languages, in particular German and Chinese. German provided the avenue for a flourishing interest in philosophy, which due to the strength of the Germanic Studies at that time was pursued intensively .In the last year of his Arts course he won a scholarship to attend the University of Freiburg external students programme, the Deutschlandkundlicher Winterkurs, which was profoundly enriching .
Upon returning to Australia, and after a years work as an articled clerk in a city law firm, an academic career, in particular a Masters in Germanic studies, was renewed. This in turn led to an even more intensive engagement with the philosophy of modernity, in particular Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel, and the modern followers. Having left Melbourne, it was after a period of isolation and family upheaval in Canberra, that the author was born again as Christian .This turned out to be the most significant event in his life, indeed the crystallizing event for his writing, for the final scenes of the work aim to give expression to the act of Christian revelation itself .
After a period of working as a social worker in Wagga Wagga in regional New South Wales, the author now lives in Hobart Tasmania.
>About the Book
Brendan O'Leary deals with the relation of spirituality to the actual circumstances of modern life, in particular the circumstances of contemporary western urban life in their recognizable forms. It does so creatively, through a series of events, which are reconstructed not chronologically but thematically, through the medium of Christian symbols such as redemption, defilement, innocence etc. Other themes include the nature of addiction and disorder, particularly in urban societies, the spiritual significance inherent in sexuality and prostitution, materialism and vegetation. Also, significantly for many, it deals with the legacy of institutionalised religious abuse.
Outwardly the events in the book seem unremarkable and banal, but they do lead to the prostitution of a young woman. This is Yvonne. It is the spiritual significance of and responsibility for this act, that are explored but the protagonist Tristan. The antihero Brendan is after all his schoolboy acquaintance. . Ultimately the protagonist does not seek to disengage the various causative elements, being addiction, disorder, etc, but to allow their spiritual significance to be played out through a medium of invocation. This is the actual medium or inner voice, through which the memory of the young woman, and through her that of the other characters, is invoked. Finally the holy spirit itself is received.
(2012, paperback, 132 pages)