Allen & Unwin have shown foresight in publishing again 26 novels by this renowned Australian writer. He died, at his desk, in 1999, so there are many, many readers out there who have never had the pleasure of reading his splendid prose. With the furore now going on within the Catholic Church, this is a timely decision from the publisher, for many of West’s best novels were about that church, in one way or another. He is perhaps best remembered for The Devil’s Advocate, and The Shoes of the Fisherman, both of which I devoured years ago. “Devoured” is an apt word, because once a reader began a West novel, it could not be abandoned it simply had to be devoured! Few novelists have written with such clarity about the Catholic Church, and few have had the amazing success he achieved. Around the world his books have sold over 70 million copies in almost 30 languages. Indeed his publishers claim that he is “Australia’s most successful writer ever.” Now he is set to make a further impact upon the reading public.
Book clubs around Australia should be gearing up to have robust discussions about his work: the revelations, and the intense plots, of his novels certainly lend themselves to the attention of such groups. In each book there is a biography of the author, which should be read, for it adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of the novel. A Christian Brother who did not take his final vows, a code-breaker during World War 11, and a world renowned novelist he could almost be a character in one of his own books. If you have not met Morris West previously, you are now in for am absolute treat, thanks to Allen & Unwin.
MORRIS WEST NOVELS by MORRIS WEST
PUBLISHED by ALLEN & UNWIN for various costs