James Vance Marshall is the pseudonym of Donald Payne (b. 1924). Only half a dozen Marshall novels have appeared in the last fifty years but they have sold several million copies and been translated into seventeen languages. Two, including Walkabout, have been made into films. Walkabout is a work of collaboration between Donald Payne and the Australian James Vance Marshall (1887-1964). Marshall spent much of his life in the outback of Australia--a part of the world he knew intimately and loved deeply. He wrote a series of articles about the people, flora, and fauna of the outback, and with his permission, Payne used these articles as background for their novel Walkabout. Subsequently, and with the consent of Marshall's son, Payne continued to publish under the pseudonym Marshall; his most recent book is Stories from the Billabong (2008), a collection of Aboriginal legends retold as stories for children. Lee Siegel is the author of four books, including Against the Machine: How the Web Is Reshaping Culture and Commerce--and Why It Matters and Are You Serious: How to Be True and Get Real in the Age of Silly. He has written essays and reviews for many publications, including Harper's Magazine, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. In 2002, he received the National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism.
"A haunting little idyl in the same vein as A High Wind in
Jamaica and Green Mansions tells of two children, a boy
and a girl, sole survivors of a plane crash in the Australian bush.
Their fragile veneer of modern culture clashes with the primitive
soul of a black bush boy who is making his tribal 'walkabout' -a
half-year's solitary journey in the wilderness to test his fitness
to be a member of his tribe." --Time
"A small classic, pared down to the bare bones. Many will not only enjoy it, but long remember it." --New York Times
"[Walkabout] is to Australians what Robinson Crusoe is to the English." --The Philadelphia Enquirer
"[Walkabout] is pared down to its bare bones, like the
ancient life in the desert, but if it is simple, it is not
oversimplified, and it does not hesitate to face, honestly and
unsentimentally, the questions it raises. . . . There will be many
who not only enjoy it, but long remember it."
--Elizabeth Janeway, The New York Times
A "much-acclaimed novel set in the Australian Outback" --Publishers Weekly
"This is a choice little tale which will have devoted admirers. It discloses a rare beauty of human relationship among three children in a strange predicament on the crust of the earth." --Newsweek An "Australian-outback classic" --Booklist "Very tender, very touching, and sketched out with no sign of strain. The descriptions of the Australian bush are first-rate." --New Statesman (London) "A deeply-felt book, filled with information about desert flora and fauna." --Times Literary Supplement (London) "A sensitive and restrained tale which implies some pointed truths about the values of our civilization . . ." --The Critic
"Marshall is one of Australia's greatest unsung, unread, and unappreciated writers. He wrote all his life in an innocent, simple, colloquial style. His stories were fables straight from the Australian earth." --Herald