Tony’s Notes From The Bony Novels (Part 1)

Posted on Mon 10/25/2010 by



This series of Notes that follows will be quite an in depth look at some of the things I learned just from the reading of these Bony novels. What started out as basically notes to try and ascertain the order (if indeed there was one) that the novels were placed in, then morphed into something entirely different from what it started out to be. This will be along the lines of analysis of some of those thing I did pick up from the novels, things that needed expansion, more than just what was seemingly a casual few lines as part of the context of those novels.

For those who have never read any of the novels, it might also act as a form of insight into not only Upfield as the author, but of the sympathetic way he treated the Australian Aborigines, a small part of the Aboriginal culture, and their way of life. Some of the things he mentions might actually be passed off as not being correct, or even as a fiction of the author’s imagination, so they need some clarification, and that is what I have set out to try and achieve. I am no expert on the Aborigines, but what I learned here gave me insight into their culture that ninety nine people out of a hundred would not be aware of, or for that fact, not even attempt to find out about. What I have gleaned from the reading of these novels would still only be the tiniest fraction of scratching the surface of Aboriginal culture, but it is more than I was even remotely aware of prior to the second reading of these novels.

I found when reading all the Bony novels again, I had no recollection of the way that each of the stories unfolded, which tended to come as a bit of a surprise really. I half expected to be able to remember what each of the stories was about, and that, knowing this, it would tend to act as a dampening influence on the pleasure I might gain from the expectation of reading how the story did unfold. Quite the opposite was in fact the case. It was like I was reading each story for the first time, and the pleasure of watching the story unfold was just as pleasant as I remembered it to be the first time I read each book.

I also picked up a lot more than I did on the first reading, leading me to believe that Upfield himself was an insightful writer for his time. He gives the distinct impression that he was noticing the problems of the aborigines in those early days when he was in the process of writing each of these books, problems that have only now resurfaced and have become an important thing in Australian society. Even now, this can give the perception of being something that started out as political correctness, and has since snowballed, and morphed into something entirely different from when it started out.

What this also leads me to believe is that this perceived problem we seem to be having now in the early years of the new century is not really a new problem at all, but one that was being noticed by some people even as early as the nineteen thirties.

These notes took on two forms. The first of these dealt with the individual novels, and these I have separately, in the form of the book reviews you see also shown at the Upfield Home Page. These deal with things that arose that were specific to that novel.

The second area is where I expanded on my thoughts in general from matters that were generic throughout the series of the 29 novels. Keep in mind that this is not a scholarly study, but impressions that I gained from the reading.

As to the Publishing rights of the novels, that is not my province to speculate on what happened in this area. My general perception would be that after initial publication and reprints, those copyrights would have been then picked up by other Publishers, as some of the novels have gone through numerous and different Publishers.