The Writing Practice : Journalism by Marcus Niski

Robert Dessaix Morris West Review Review Liz Jensen


Morris West: Literary Maverick....

'People need an identity, they can't exist without one'

-Morris West, writing as 'Faber West'

Morris West was undoubtedly a writer of great inner complexity. As one of Australia's most prolific and successful authors, West reached a pantheon of commercial success many authors only dream about: sales of upwards of 60 million books, international best sellers, translations into 27 languages, film adaptations starring Anthony Quinn and Lawrence Olivier, and successful stage productions of his plays.

Yet, as Maryanne Confoy skilfully portrays, West was a man of many masks behind which lay the inner conflicts that served to shape his life and his writing.

As a promising young scholar, and an individual seemingly naturally suited to joining the Order, West appeared to have his life clearly mapped out for him. In his abandonment of the Congregation and his failure to commit to the path of ordination, West's rejection of a life amongst the Clergy would not only have a profound effect on the course of his life as a man, but also on his intellectual genesis as a writer and his struggle to reconcile his 'divided self'.

In combining stringent research with real insight into West's complex character, Confory has written an engaging and highly informative portrait of West that will appeal to many readers both here and overseas. As a writer, cosmopolitan, religious observer, commentator, raconteur, and above all, Believer, Morris West was undoubtedly a man of many parts. As Confoy's book title adeptly implies, West was a maverick in life and art whose presence on the Australian literary scene was both weighty and worthy of our deeper understanding.

A review of Morris West: Literary Maverick by Maryanne Confoy, John Wiley & Sons Australia, 2005, ISBN 1 740 31119 1, 372 pp, forthcoming May/June, Good Reading Magazine: the Magazine for Book Lovers,


   Remembering Morris West ...

©2005 Marcus D. Niski