Inez Baranay has written 12 works of fiction and non-fiction. The Sydney-based author’s latest novel, Turn Left at Venus, is published by Transit Lounge.
Angelo and Rosaline
To a great extent, books from childhood make the imagination, and this is one I never forgot. I didn’t know any other kids’ books where the mother takes the little girl to a museum, which my mother had, where I might have seen the sculpture of an angel that in this story comes to life, and somehow the angel and the girl become friends, and the way I kept remembering that made me realise that one’s memories can be formed by stories.
The Pure and the Impure
Colette’s books were one of those early enchantments that I keep returning to, even though the painful excitement of the earliest readings is not available to me now. This genre-fluid account of singular people may not have been the book of hers I first read but it made me realise my devotion. Colette’s bold life, her writings of sharp perception and utter sensuality, the lavish attention to both intimate sensation and manners in society, made me believe what I most wanted to believe, that a life like hers was possible.
The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx and Frederich Engels
When I was a teenage peacenik I was told that I was being manipulated by communists, so what really was communism? I had to find out for myself. And while I could not have understood or absorbed it all then, I’ve returned to the Manifesto every few years, always invigorated and impressed. It still seems essential reading for anyone interested in history and socialism; and still pertinent; today’s updates would likely talk of the one per cent rather than the one 10th, for truly ‘‘all that is solid melts into air’’.
One book from childhood; three books from adolescence. I overcome my embarrassment to say this book of poems made me, at 18 or 19, swoon and sob and understand something about women’s experience being desiring matter for poetry and it led me to my own sorry imitations and to other women poets and wider reading and poetry I’d rather read now and an essential knowledge of variant readings of the life and work of a literary figure of the recent, receding past.