‘Julia Osborne received an Australia Council Grant in 1991 to work on her novel Falling Glass, published in 2002. The novel is set in inner west Sydney, the mid-north coast of New South Wales, and on the road, a few months after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and as the bombardment of Iraq begins in January 1991, by the Coalition of the Willing.
The war, as experienced largely through television and newspaper reportage, is more than simply dramatic background in this, Julia Osborne’s first novel after many short stories published in literary journals and national magazines short stories, from Meanjin, Island and Antipodes (USA) to Australian Women’s Weekly and Australian Penthouse.
A politically conscious Australian novel with a contemporary setting is rare these days… Local inner city Glebe is the central setting for interaction between five disparate people in their late teens to mid-fifties, who come together for a short time and affect each other’s lives. The story also takes us to Taree and on the road where the three youngest meet: disenchanted Eastern suburbs boy James, hitching to Cairns; brooding, itinerate Roddy with his pet ferret; and Cath, his rootless, needy girlfriend.’
Extract from ‘Gulf War I revisited’
UniNews, University of Sydney, October 2003
The ordinary tangle of relationships that develops through these characters is simply and effectively drawn… The difficulty of being a living, shaping agent in one’s own life is the best-fulfilled theme of the novel and in this bears comparison with Helen Garner and Elliot Perlman.
Extract from article
Southerly vol. 63 #2 2003
This novel set in Sydney in 1991… is a valiant attempt to examine the way international political issues affect individuals of seeming insignificance. In this case, George Bush snr’s orchestration of the Gulf War becomes horribly familiar as a similar crisis confronts us today, played in a slightly different key.
Using media reports as a grounding device, Osborne records the despair of a group of people whose lives are on hold under the shadow of war. The maddening inertia and ignorance of a generation is conveyed in three young people meeting by accident on the road. Drawn to the home of an older woman, they are challenged to question their lives, given her almost palpable anguish over the war…
Debra Adelaide, In Short, Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald, January 25-26, 2003
Rivers, Bronwyn 2003. ‘Urban Capers’ Review of “Fantastic Street” by David Kelly and “Falling Glass” by Julia Osborne, Australian Book Review No 251 May 49-50
for Abstract see http://hdl.handle.net/2328/1227
Julia Osborne’s Falling Glass thought-provokingly holds in conflict several crucial oppositions: masculine/feminine; youth/ middle-age; rural/ urban; war/ peace; political commitment/ social apathy. Set in Glebe, in inner-Sydney, Taree, on the NSW mid north coast, and on the road, it takes media reportage of the Gulf War of 1991 as its background. Crisply written, it offers a range of interesting characters, and is that rare thing in Australian fiction – a politically-conscious novel.
Don Anderson ~ 2002
Former Lecturer in American fiction
The University of Sydney
Falling Glass has been a real pleasure to encounter. Julia Osborne uses inner Sydney much as Helen Garner uses Carlton, and some of the effects are more than memorable. Its accounts of urban survivals at a time of international crisis guarantee it a lingering timelessness.
David Brooks ~ 2002
Lecturer in English
The University of Sydney