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Barry Oakley Biography

(1931– ), A Wild Ass of a Man, A Salute to the Great McCarthy

melbourne satire novelist picaresque

Australian novelist and playwright, born in Melbourne, educated at the University of Melbourne. His three picaresque novels are A Wild Ass of a Man (1967), a satirical comedy about a luckless young man named Muldoon; A Salute to the Great McCarthy (1970), about a star football player, which was later filmed; and Let's Hear It for Prendergast (1970), an iconoclastic satire about a Melbourne poet. A more recent novel, The Craziplane (1989), is similarly picaresque and tells of a young novelist who goes to Sydney to write the biography of the (fictional) greatest living Australian playwright and becomes comically entangled in his life. Walking through Tigerland (1977) is a collection of short stories. His numerous plays include From the Desk of Eugene Flockhart (1966), a comedy set in a Canberra public services office; Witzenhausen Where Are You? (1967), about a mystic messenger in a large car company, who causes disruption by locking himself in the lavatory, passing subversive messages written on pieces of toilet paper under the door; A Lesson in English (1968); It's a Chocolate World (1968); The Feet of Daniel Mannix (1971); Beware of Imitations (1972, published 1987); and Scanlan (1978). Later works include Buck Privates (1980), The Hollow Tombola (1980), a satire of Patrick White's The Solid Mandala (1966), Politics: A Farce (1980), The Great God Mogadon and Other Plays (1980), and Marsupials (1981). A collection of essays, Scribbling in the Dark, appeared in 1985.

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