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30 review for Requiem For A Beast: A Work For Image, Word And Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Earp

    I know this won the CBCA years ago, and I've had it on my shelf since then, but only just now read it. This is so powerful and disturbing (because of our country's history), but its blending of myth, memory, daily practice and personal trauma is supurbly done.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Giles Watson

    A visceral and yet compassionate meditation on Australia's conflicted culture of masculinity, Matt Ottley's 'Requiem for a Beast' is a haunting, gruelling, uncompromising text which demands much more than a superficial reading. Blending genre elements of the graphic novel with a CD recording of a quite astoundingly beautiful mini-Requiem Mass, scored and illustrated by its multi-talented author, 'Requiem for a Beast' is also a multi-layered narrative. It weaves together stories of a boy seeking A visceral and yet compassionate meditation on Australia's conflicted culture of masculinity, Matt Ottley's 'Requiem for a Beast' is a haunting, gruelling, uncompromising text which demands much more than a superficial reading. Blending genre elements of the graphic novel with a CD recording of a quite astoundingly beautiful mini-Requiem Mass, scored and illustrated by its multi-talented author, 'Requiem for a Beast' is also a multi-layered narrative. It weaves together stories of a boy seeking to validate his own identity in a culture with blinkered notions of the limits of gender roles, a feral bull which is pursued by him into the outback, his battle to alternately sublimate and confront the sins of his father and forefathers and - in the most inspiring sections of all - the impact of all of this on his unconscious. Matt Ottley is a master of both the surreal and the hyper-real. He makes no allowances for lazy readers, but he richly rewards attentive ones, and it is on the third or fourth reading, with fingers inserted in four or five different sections of the text, that most readers are likely to reach "Eureka" moments. A particularly inspired aspect of the text is Ottley's decision to structure his narrative around four sections of the Latin Requiem Mass, which on the CD is combined with recordings of aboriginal songs and stories in the Bundjalung language. The combination is sometimes jarring, sometimes harmonious - sometimes indeed the melody of the traditional requiem shares the same melody as the indigenous song - just as the horrific antagonism which white settlers have shown to Aboriginal culture has gradually been replaced by ambivalence as we have discovered our common humanity. This deep-seated cultural ambiguity is reflected in the boy's dreams, which blend the popular mythology surrounding bushrangers and the classical myths of the Minotaur and centaurs with narratives about the Stolen Generation. These dream sequences are as troubling and disorientating as real dreams, haunted disturbingly archetypal monsters. This is certainly not a "children's book", and was never attended to be one. The 'Picture Book of the Year' award is available to texts which appeal to young people up to the age of 18. Teenage readers can and do have profound responses to this text, and the encouragement it offers young people to think about the need to replace toxic masculinity with an honest understanding of self has never been as urgent as it is now. Ultimately, 'Requiem for a Beast' confronts issues such as scapegoating, redemption and the need for courage in a language which is as beautiful as it is compelling. Every Australian bookshelf should carry a well-thumbed copy of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alicen

    Such a dark and beautiful book. An interesting portrayal of our country’s twisted history - beautifully written and the illustrations are amazing! Feels very fitting to have read this on January 26th.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jack Kirby and the X-man

    Certainly an interesting book - with "image, word and music". The topics covered are pretty intense - the stolen generation, murder, child abuse, a measure of animal cruelty, etc, etc. This book has sparked some controversy after winning the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year 2008. The tabloid media (see the Courier Mail article above) have created a media beat-up that this book has been promoted to young children. The CBCA Picture Book of the Year has always be Certainly an interesting book - with "image, word and music". The topics covered are pretty intense - the stolen generation, murder, child abuse, a measure of animal cruelty, etc, etc. This book has sparked some controversy after winning the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year 2008. The tabloid media (see the Courier Mail article above) have created a media beat-up that this book has been promoted to young children. The CBCA Picture Book of the Year has always been non-age-specific (with 2007's winner being Shaun Tan's The Arrival). All a bit of a storm in a tea-cup really... The use of three languages in this book was not entirely successful. The use of Latin (eg in the chapter names and songs) seemed out of place. If the author was searching for ancient, little-used language to promote the inaccessability and academic credibility of this book then surely Ancient Greek would have been more appropriate given all the references to Ancient Greek mythology. The use of the Bundjalung language on the other hand was highly appropriate and I felt added to the respect given to the Aboriginal people and culture. One comment on the use of these languages in general was that the translations are only provided at the very end of the book (Part 5), which means unless you are fluent in English, Latin and Bundjalung at least part of the book will be inaccessable on first reading. The story erratically chops from story-line to story-line - some real, some remembered, some dream, some purely allegorical. It took me at least 25 pages to get my head around what was actually going on, and even then the sudden changes often left me confused as to what was going on. I felt the stolen generation story in Part Two (Mors Stupebit et Natura) was powerful and moving... But somehow I feel cheated that this is just a work of fiction - surely the author could have found a survivor to lend their name and story to a work such as this? On the whole this is a pretty pretentious book aimed at winning solid critical acclaim while being inaccessable to a much of the audience who needs to hear its message.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    I read this to assist a tutoring client in Year 8, and first off, though I am not in favor of assuming kids aren't smart and capable, this graphic novel is far too complicated for a Year 8 student. I am a post graduate student with a minor in English and a thesis in history with extensive knowledge of post modernism and even I got confused. I am still not really sure what The Beast/The Bull/The Minotaur/The Centaur symbolism was all about. I also found the omniscient narrator annoying and someti I read this to assist a tutoring client in Year 8, and first off, though I am not in favor of assuming kids aren't smart and capable, this graphic novel is far too complicated for a Year 8 student. I am a post graduate student with a minor in English and a thesis in history with extensive knowledge of post modernism and even I got confused. I am still not really sure what The Beast/The Bull/The Minotaur/The Centaur symbolism was all about. I also found the omniscient narrator annoying and sometimes quite pretentious (probably because of the present tense and the at times heavy handed description). Having said that, I loved the way Indigenous culture and story was intertwined with a white boy's story and I think mixed medium art like this is always pretty cool and worth pursuing. Finally, I have a real weakness for meta stories like this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    A moving, intense wonderful book. It looks like a childs book but it is not just for children by any means - in fact it may not be for your child at all. There is a CD with the book with indiginous and classical-type music - I assume composed for the book. The story is confronting and dark. Monster of all shapes inhabit the lives of the characters - some inherited monsters - alluding to dreamtime. do yourself a favour and read this book with the CD playing. It is an experience not to be missed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Eaton

    Ottley's 'work for picture, word and music' garnered a huge degree of controversy when it was selected by the CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) as their 'Picture Book of the Year' in 2008. Certainly it's not a picture book for children - no talking possums or ABC's here. Instead it's a confronting work; with a postmodern, fractured narrative, densely layered allegory throughout, and accessible primarily to adults and critically informed older teenage readers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This is glorious. Hearkens back to the glory days of YA lit where the best examples were harrowing and emotionally taxing. Beautifully soundtracked and painted, and plays out like a ghastly Dali+Turneresque nightmare. An epic accomplishment.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marj Osborne

    An intensely moving, profound multi-layered work. Set aside a few quiet hours and break the silence embarking on the journey with this amazing author. A work of genius for the intelligent reader who's not afraid to tackle something really different and challenging.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amira

    Did this for an english class in like year 9? Not sure, all I remember was a lot of symbolism and a lack of meaning.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Original, haunting, a challenging, stimulating read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Reigne

    By far one of the best picture books I have ever read. Even though it's graphic at times, it tells a story of redemption, and courage, brought on by a beast.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Wow!! What an awesome book. The vision of Matt Ottley to create this is astonishing. Definately worth reading with the music playing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Littleg

  15. 4 out of 5

    ladycavendish

  16. 4 out of 5

    Evan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aniek Ragan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angelia

  19. 4 out of 5

    GatheringBooks

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mitchell Spencer

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lize

  22. 4 out of 5

    Louise

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robyn Donoghue

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lian

  28. 5 out of 5

    Doghouse Reilly

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tyson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Claire B

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