Download Among the Missing by Dan Chaon PDF

By Dan Chaon

During this haunting, bracing new assortment, Dan Chaon stocks tales of guys, girls, and youngsters who reside a long way outdoor the yank Dream, whereas thinking about which selection, which course, or which twist of fate introduced them to this position. Chaon mines the mental panorama of his characters to outstanding influence. each one tale radiates with sharp humor, secret, ask yourself, and startling compassion. one of the lacking lingers within the brain via its refined grace and tool of language.

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Readability, reason and relevance — the three R’s of writing — are challenges that should not be overlooked. As Wear has argued: ‘the task of biography is difficult because it involves sorting through numerous accounts of the subject’s career and settling on a final version that imposes order and structure’ (Courier-Mail May 17, 2003). Rose (2000: 51) considered that biographers often under-conceptualise their subjects, treating the career of a prime minister as a ‘unique set of events, with little or no attempt to plot changes over a period of time longer than the subject’s term of office’.

The Problems with Live Subjects There is much we could say about dealing with live subjects in political biography. Most of the work I have done has been based on elite interviews — in-depth interviews with people who work with key figures. The book on Whitlam started off as a study of the post-war prime ministership. But I never got any further with that project. As a political scientist, I have been driven by questions about institutions and how they operate, but in the case of Whitlam, they led to broader questions about how he got to the prime ministership, how he crafted his rise to power.

Through this sort of engagement, the biographer can find him or herself breaking down the established myths that exist about politicians. In Barton’s case this added more substance to the character than was commonly known, for he had earned the reputation of someone who largely enjoyed good food, good wine and convivial company. Bolton’s book, by contrast, portrayed Barton as ‘the man for the job’ — right for his time. I face a similar challenge in writing a life of Arthur Fadden. Part of the research aims to explore why this individual, Fadden, described as a humorist and as a ‘hail fellow well met’ type of person, and often largely unnoticed or at best regarded as a bit player in history, is worthy of deeper political analysis.

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