Book Talk: Novel looks at rape through lens of sports

Thu Oct 4, 2012 6:23am EDT
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Not many authors have the kind of success seen by Australian Paul D. Carter, who took nine years to write his first novel - only to have it scoop a major award.

"All Seasons", which won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award earlier this year, looks at the issue of rape through the lens of a male-dominated sport, in this case Australian rules football, in a coming-of-age tale set in 1990s Australia.

From the time Jason dons the boots at a young age, he shows natural ability for the game, much to his mother's disapproval as she works as a single mother to make a life for them. Later, as he reaches success in his sporting career, he finds out that he was conceived when his mother was raped by a football player.

Carter spoke with Reuters about his book, which he said was his attempt to "write a book about football that non-football followers could appreciate."

Q: While football is clearly a strong theme in your book, there are many more elements to it, what was going on in your head?

A: "I discovered I was writing more closely about the role the game can play in young peoples' lives in providing themselves with a template outside of themselves on which they can base their identity."

Q: What made you address the issue of rape around sports?

A: "I was wanting to reframe the cultural perception of the mistreatment of women. I enjoy the game but I have very critical feelings around the propaganda that surrounds it. I felt a story perhaps could be explored more deeply through not necessarily looking at a character that has been raped but looking at the effects of rape - what is the aftermath.   Continued...