‘A dozy city’: Adelaide in J.M. Coetzee's slow man and Amy T. Matthews's end of the night girl

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    A blog post by Michael Duffy from May 2011, titled ‘Is Adelaide Our Cruellest City?’, begins: I was on a panel at the recent Sydney Writers Festival where novelists talked about the ideal cities in which to set crime fiction. Michael Connelly (Los Angeles), Gary Disher (Melbourne) and myself (Sydney) agreed the most important thing is for a city to be big enough to have experienced most types of evil, so that any horror will seem believable if set there in a novel. But Gary reminded us there is one city that fits this bill despite its relative smallness: Adelaide, the ‘city of corpses’. Although Adelaide's murder rate is no higher than anywhere else in Australia, it has had more than its share of particularly gruesome and distressing murders. … Salman Rushdie once nominated Adelaide as ‘the perfect setting for a Stephen King novel or horror film’. There are plenty of examples of books and films trading on this reputation, one of the most notable recent examples being the 2011 film Snowtown, which dramatises the gruesome series of murders committed in and around Adelaide in the 1990s by John Bunting and his associates. Susan Mitchell's book about these murders, All Things Bright and Beautiful (2005), emphasised the creepy quality she projected onto the northern suburbs where most of the so-called Snowtown murders took place and where Bunting lived.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAdelaide
    Subtitle of host publicationA Literary City
    PublisherUniversity of Adelaide Press
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9781922064646
    ISBN (Print)9781922064639
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

    Bibliographical note

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    • JM Coetzee
    • Amy T Matthews
    • Adelaide


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