Post by Francis A. Miniter Post by Mike Burke
I haven't seen an Upfield book on sale here in Canberra, ACT where I live
for decades. In the current political climate, I suspect that any
publisher who tried to reissue them would be lynched. The PC left is as
vicious as it is ignorant, here as well as there.
I always considered Upfield to be ahead of his time, advocating, through
the person of Bony, a mixed-race detective, for acceptance of both
cultures by both cultures. Also, he was a strong advocate for
protection of the environment. Why would Upfield's books not be popular
Francis A. Miniter
I agree with you that Upfield was ahead of his time, but times have
changed. My mother's mother, NZ born and a very enlightened and
well-informed, widely read person despite having barely a sixth grade
formal education, introduced me to Upfield's books which I enjoyed very
much as a teenager and young adult. It's more than 50 years since I've
read any of his books, so my recall is very limited, but my recollection is
that Bony was raised and educated by a white woman, and that his Aboriginal
culture (whichever of hundreds it was) was quite attenuated. IIRC, he was
not an initiated tribal man so, had he been a real person, he'd not have
known much if anything more about Aboriginal culture and custom than your
average white man living in the Australian Outback, and Upfield's knowledge
would have been similarly limited.
One of the developments since Upfield's day has been the rise of the
so-called Stolen Generation ideas and its associated political activism,
far too complicated to detail here, but as a child adopted by a white woman
and raised in white culture, Bony would probably be seen by the PC left
these days as the archetypal member of that "generation" and, as such, a
victim rather than as a gloriously successful role model showing what might
be possible for such people. As he was successful, I doubt he's the sort
of role model the political activists would want to exploit, which might
explain why I haven't seen anything about Upfield in years.
But I will go looking at the next opportunity.