Sunday, December 07, 2014
CONFRONTING ANZACKERY by Rowan Cahill
Brothers by John Tognolini is the first of a projected quartet of novellas dealing with the war experiences of four of Tognolini’s uncles during WW1, beginning with those of Stephen and Andrew Tognolini, working-class men in their early twenties, at Gallipoli. In many ways the book breaks from the dominant narrative enshrined in popular retellings of the Anzac/Gallipoli experience, beginning with the Tognolini brothers, city-industrial workers, not bushmen, and of Italian and English/Irish descent, not pure Anglos. Indeed, the Gallipoli of Tognolini’s account is peopled with ‘others’: the Allied invaders fighting the Turks are not just Australians and New Zealanders (ANZACS), but also British, French, Canadian Newfoundlanders, Canadians, British Indians (from the future India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), while in the Australian ranks are people of Aboriginal, Chinese, Japanese, German, Italian, West Indians descent--not only the pure Anglos who tend to people populist accounts.