More on Midnite

September 22, 2007 at 9:28 pm 2 comments

I just finished it. This is seriously the funniest book I can ever remember reading. I bet the neighbours could hear me laughing through the walls. It’s about Midnite’s adventures as a bushranger, and then some other (typically Australian) things, but I don’t want to give you any more details so as not to spoil the pleasure of reading it for yourself. It’s just so funny and so warm-hearted, I’ve never read anything that’s left me feeling so happy.

I have been trying to read this book for years. A good friend of mine in Adelaide, who put me on to Randolph Stow in the first place, told me she’d lend it to me. But just then her son (who was my age and whom she was rather hoping I’d take a shine to, but we were both too shy) returned from teaching English in Japan. Not only that, but he was terribly sick with some fluey thing, and it was the time of the SARS outbreak, so he was whisked off to hospital as his plane landed and put into quarantine. To cheer him up, my friend lent him Midnite instead. Which is all well and good, except that because he’d touched it while he was quarantined it had to be destroyed!

The next encounter I had with Midnite was in Canberra earlier this year. I was trawling through the manuscripts of National Library, looking for stuff to help with my Phd. Going through the boxes of Randolph Stow manuscripts, I found an original copy of Midnite, written on a typewriter, with little notes scribbled all over it. Incredible. I read a few pages, but there were other, more pressing things to look at.

The past couple of months, I’ve been reading everything by and about Randolph Stow I could get my hands on. But the library didn’t appear to have a copy of Midnite. It wasn’t shelved with his other books, and when you type the title into the catalogue, it doesn’t come up. Haha, but it was hiding there after all! I typed ‘Randolph Stow’ into the keyword search, and there it was, buried in the ‘Stack English’ movable shelves in a deep and remote corner of the library. Only it wasn’t. I looked for it twice, and it wasn’t there – the books stopped way before its call number. I nearly gave up. But third time lucky, and there it was! I don’t know if some industrious librarian replaced a whole half-cabinet of books overnight, or if I have selective blindness. Libraries are mysterious places.

But I found it, and I read it, and now I’m smiling my head off. The man is a genius.

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Entry filed under: Australia, Randolph Stow.

Midnite The Book of Lost Things

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eva  |  September 23, 2007 at 3:55 am

    Libraries are mysterious places! I’m glad that you finally got to enjoy this. 🙂 What a crazy history.

  • 2. meli  |  September 24, 2007 at 8:24 am

    thanks eva. they are indeed…

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