Elliot Perlman, author of The Street Sweeper, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

 The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Elliot Perlman

author of Seven Types of Ambiguity, Three Dollars, The Reasons I Won’t Be Coming and now, The Street Sweeper

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Melbourne and spent my earliest years in the south-east suburb of East Brighton.  In primary school I went to Gardenvale State School.  In secondary school I went to Mount Scopus College.  After school I did an honours degree in economics with a double major in politics and economics and a sub-major in economic history.  Then I did a law degree.  Both degrees are from Monash University in Clayton, Melbourne.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

From memory, at 12 I think I wanted to be a kind of Australian Bob Dylan who played football for Carlton and was the kind of footy-playing troubadour who was also a doctor.  At 18 I probably had more-or-less the same aspirations I had at 30, although at 30 I was no longer playing in bands.  I wanted to be a barrister and a writer.  Why?  They both involve working with language and can involve arguing a point of view.  They both permit working for yourself.  They both have the potential to help people.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I’m not sure what it says about me (although I’m sure it’s not good) but I think that at 18 I probably had pretty much the same views on important issues that I have now.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

It’s hard to limit it to 3 but I’ll try.  As a kid I didn’t enjoy the same kind of books as my older sister and my parents were worried about my lack of enthusiasm for reading the book she’d liked.  Then at about Continue reading

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman: review by Toni Whitmont

It is not often that a book give me goosebumps but by the second page of The Street Sweeper I was covered in them. I had an inkling on page one with the opening paragraph.

Memory is a wilful dog. It won’t be summoned or dismissed but it cannot survive without you. It can sustain you or feed on you. It visits when it is hungry, not when you are. It has a schedule all of its own that you can never know. It can capture, corner you or liberate you. It can a leave you howling and it can make you smile.

A page later I knew I was in the hands of a master – someone whose deliberately crafted prose, stunning ability to weave a story, intelligently thought through issues leaves the reader humbled, in a state of grace, in awe.

I don’t know about his career as a barrister, but in his writing, Elliot Perlman has rarely hit a wrong note. Known for Three Dollars, and then for the very satisfying Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Street Sweeper will certainly cement the reputation of man already described as having “traces of Dickens’ range and of George Eliot’s generous Continue reading


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