Tourism by Bernard Cohen

Tourism is a novel in the form of a tourist guidebook to Australia. It 'describes' one hundred and forty-nine places.
When published by Pan Macmillan's Picador imprint in 1992, it drew a mixed reception.

 
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Some people liked it quite a bit

'A postmodern tour de force' -- Robert Dessaix, Books and Writing.

'This is a very contemporary sort of fiction; one might even call it avant garde. Yet it is engrossing funny, amusing, saturated with wit and Cohen's unique style. Breaking with the tedium need not be a leap into the high seriousness of "experimental" (ie unreadable) prose. But then, as Cohen would say, "In Yass, one always overtakes on the inside." '-- McKenzie Wark, Australian Left Review

'Tourism ... is about a triumph of orientation and thus about what is important and what is not ... What emerges ... is a new, more expansive, if enigmatic, kind of intelligibility' -- Veronica Brady, Westerly.

'Tourism ... opens up strange places -- at once desirous, nostalgic, and celebratory -- in the Australian map' -- Delia Falconer, Southerly .

'Tourism takes Australian fiction a step beyond where it has been' -- Don Anderson.

'Tourism is a quirky, unclassifiable book of considerable originality.' -- Andrew Riemer, Sydney Morning Herald

 

Others took a different view

'The back cover blurb calls it a novel but it might as well have been called a gazebo or a stirrup pump.' -- Leon Trainor, The Australian.

'Imagine my shock on opening this book -- which purports to have something to say about 151 alphabetically listed Australian towns -- to see Singleton described thus:

' "They bake and stew and roast and fricasee and steam. From first light till well after dark, Singleton's good folk make the most appalling smells. And then they eat the stuff ... and then they sit on the verandahs with their bellies hanging over their trousers and burp appreciatively. I've never seen anything like it."

'Clearly when the author of this volume speaks of the town's furious stenches, he speaks not of the Singleton we know and love (1976 B Grade Premiers, twice a Tidy Towns runner--up).' -- John Macgregor, The Age.

read extracts from Tourism

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