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Criena Rohan (1924–1963)

Autor(a) de The Delinquents

3 Works 71 Membros 3 Críticas

About the Author

Includes the name: Criena Rohan

Disambiguation Notice:

(eng) Criena Rohan was a pseudonym used by Australian novelist Deirdre Cash.

Obras por Criena Rohan


Conhecimento Comum

Nome legal
Cash, Deirdre
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Albert Park, Victoria, Australia
Local de falecimento
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Locais de residência
Calca, South Australia, Australia
Mornington, Victoria, Australia
East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
dance teacher
Nota de desambiguação
Criena Rohan was a pseudonym used by Australian novelist Deirdre Cash.



I lived with my grandmother. She had been born and reared in Dublin. Her father had been a ship's captain, and so also had her husband. She had borne two sons and six daughters and her husband had died when the youngest child was six weeks old. The shipping company gave her a clock.

Criena Rohan is a name nearly forgotten in the annals of Australian literature, which is both understandable and rather sad. Rohan (a nom-de-plume for Deirdre Cash) grew up in a down-on-their-luck Irish-Australian family, had two marriages (the first, in the late 1940s, precipitated by a teenage pregnancy) and two children (one from each) before being diagnosed with cancer in her mid-thirties. Rohan managed to churn out two novels - allegedly a third that has never been found - before succumbing to the cancer at age 38. Her "social realist" novels were successful in the 1960s, republished in the 1980s when the other - The Delinquents - was made into a popular film, and appear from time to time in new editions aimed at maintaining her legacy.

Down by the Docks is the story of a young woman from an Irish immigrant family, relocated from Rohan's childhood homes north of the Yarra to Port Melbourne. Strange, as a regular in Port Melbourne these days (where it is gentrification personified), to read about its dark past as the slums, home of immigrants and dock workers and the socially dispossessed. As the heroine, Lisha, grows from girl to young woman, she must confront her family demons, youthful love and often brutal adult relationships, violence, crime, and sorrow. The authorial voice is sly, sensitive, and clear-eyed about the characters, young and old. Her world is one of humour and elan, but mottled by the brutal reality of the lives of the downtrodden. Rohan was, simply, a natural storyteller, and this feels like a quintessential slice of Aussie historical fiction.

Down by the Docks is not a perfect novel, far from it. For one, we are witnessing an author who never made it past her literary infancy. Two novels and gone at 38 is not a recipe for fully-evolved writing. Then there's the reality of the publishing situation: her English publishers must have viewed the book a little anthropologically, and seem to have forgiven some overripe passages and youthful flights of fancy (I sometimes wonder if we do the same when foreign writers - from Ferrante to Garcia Marquez - become briefly fashionable outside of their home language). And there are the excesses of the genre itself. Australian social realism of the post-war period was designed as a rebuke to literature that dealt with the higher-ups (think Martin Boyd) or with literary pretentiousness (Patrick White) or even the very good but deeply sentimental writing of Ruth Park. Instead, the social realists defined themselves by their clear-eyed nature, the vernacular nature of their characters' dialogue, the downward spiral of their self-consciously "ordinary" characters. This was a noble and successful genre but it can tend itself toward sentimentality or, as people would now call it, "poverty porn".

All this having been said, Rohan is a marvellous chronicler of the Australian experience. Take one example (excerpted in the introduction to my edition):

I remember it was a misty morning, misty and still, as though autumn were trying to prolong its time. A soft vapour lay along the top of the Yarra and I knew that later in the day the sunlight would not break through the clouds, it would just filter down in a golden web, wrapping itself around the buildings, throwing a sheen over the trees and putting beauty into the faces of the people that went up and down the streets.

It is impossible to know, when a writer leaves us early, what they could have become. Still, I suspect that the "raw material" found in Rohan's two novels suggests she could have been a national treasure.
… (mais)
therebelprince | 1 outra crítica | Oct 24, 2023 |
A brief marvel.

I never saw the film and cannot for the life of me imagine Neighbours-era Kylie Minogue as the sassy, sharp as a tack and, possibly most importantly Eurasian Lola. Ludicrous! And Brownie apparently came over all American. It's sad to think that the cultural cringe that caused this novel to be rejected by Australian publishers in the late 50s (it was first published in 1962 in the UK) was alive and well in the late 80s (?), when the film version was made.

There's a wonderful energy and truth to this recounting of wild young love in 50s Australia (mostly Brisbane but other parts of Queensland as well as Sydney and Melbourne get a look in.) The pace never drags and the characters and events are sparklingly drawn. An absolute cracker.… (mais)
Vivl | Apr 13, 2015 |
Criena Rohan is the pseudonym of Deirdre Cash. Born in Melbourne in 1925, she worked as a singer and ballroom dancer. She published two novels, The Delinquents (1962) and Down by the Dockside (1963). She died of cancer in 1963 at the age of 36.
In this novel, Lisha Flynn is Australian by birth, from a Liverpool Irish family. Raised by her grandmother, she grows up in the tough slums of Port Melbourne during the Depression. Excited by wartime, she marries a sailor at 17, becomes a mother at 18, and a widow at 21. In desperation she turns to the poor Irish people of her childhood. She sings in nightclubs, teaches in back street dancing schools, and associates with petty criminals. A colourful account of wartime Australian life with flashes of humour. - jacket notes.… (mais)
tripleblessings | 1 outra crítica | Jul 15, 2006 |



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