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‘Five Times Too Much in the Morning’: Kenneth Cook’s Debut Masterpiece | LeMagduCine

Otherwise, it publishes classics of Australian literature Five times in the morningby Kenneth Cook, in an expanded collectors’ version of Gorval Angot’s original illustrations.

For John Grant, the Australian outback doesn’t have anything really appealing. A young teacher awaits only one thing: to leave the town of Hillbilly where he teaches to reach Sydney, the dream vacation destination where he intends to savor the joys of civilization once again. Decisively, Kenneth Cook is quick to portray, with all the bitterness of Grant, the small town of Tibunda, made up of farmers, laborers, and teenagers for whom school is but a forced transition.

John Grant has six weeks before his second year in Tibunda. Everything is planned: he should spend the night in Bundanyabba, the city where chauvinism is most involved, before traveling to Sydney, where he will have plenty of time to spend his wages. This is where Kenneth Cook would frame an atypical thriller and plunge an ordinary man into a kind of waking nightmare—much like Hitchcock did in the movies, less elegant, more banal.

Because nothing, of course, will go as planned. If the first pages of Five times in the morning Set the tone by presenting the Australian outback as a deserted region, devoid of all cultures, made up of dirt or mud roads (depending on the weather) from which one can only be rid of by taking the trains that occasionally pass by them, the bias taken by the author is restrictive His hero is there, who gets stuck there trying to get out of it. In an atmosphere that fits like a gauntlet with the Coen brothers, John Grant will face days of alcoholism, violence, gambling and intersection despite being in an area that seems to hold him, double (in) proper encounters and each time leaving disaster in suspense.

“Every action spawned another. Nothing had any real necessity, but every event bore within it the seed of the next.” We cannot best summarize what led to the disastrous fate of the young teacher. Exalted by a game he had just discovered that immediately took advantage of his clarity, he burned the supposed check to fund his trip to Sydney. He finds himself giving up a beer paid for by a stranger, Tim Hines, and then flirting with his daughter Janet, an illegal nurse, before going fishing with their underage friends…nothing makes sense, it all seems silly, and yet the vortex of John Grant finds Himself, infernal, matches him more than ever with the depressing descriptions he so willingly attaches to the Outback.

in that, Five times in the morning Already hit the mark. But to fully appreciate Kenneth Cook’s talent, you have to look at the way he expresses the emotion that the game generates, the confusion caused by alcohol, and the humiliation and remorse felt by a hero who is considered superior to the individuals next door. You have to read the freeze descriptions related to kangaroo hunting. Capture these nightmarish visions of LIBA, allegedly “The best small town in the world”which seems to define those who live there or pass through it by depriving them of any perspective on their work.

In this first masterpiece, Kenneth Cook was the writer of Disillusionment, of Australia’s Thousand Leagues of Postcard, of a humanity often reduced to primitive. The character he offends, visits, and even corrupts, is only the advanced point of civilization, the teacher, the misguided though his role is to train the Australian youth. Through these contradictions, Five times in the morning It just seems more complicated.

See also

Five times in the morningKenneth Cook
Otherwise, June 2022, 240 pages


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