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The Monkeys Mask (Mask Noir) Paperback – 15 Oct 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; New edition edition (15 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852425490
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852425494
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,101,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Toronto Star 'The most remarkable first novel I have read this year...clutching the reader with a grip like a talon round the throat. (Val McDermid Manchester Evening News)

Sensational... A book to rave about, to gasp at the daring, the beauty - and the wit (Australian Bookseller & Publisher)

...the poetic device sets a breakneck, rock 'n (roll video pace to take the breath away)

About the Author

Dorothy Porter has established an international reputation as one of Australia's most exciting and innovative writers. Born in Sydney in 1954, she graduated from Sydney University in 1975, the same year as her first volume of poetry, Little Hoodlum, was published. Attaining a Diploma of Education, she supported her writing by part-time teaching for a number of years, before becoming a lecturer in Poetry and Writing at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her verse crime thriller, The Monkey's Mask, has become an international bestseller. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 17 July 2001
Format: Paperback
This novel in the form of poems is amazing not only because of its unusual form but also because of its potency. The work is vibrant and exciting; you will be on the edge of your pillow. Porter's words leap off the page. The poems stand alone and yet hang together. Great performance poetry, especially if Porter herself is delivering. This book HAS to be experienced. Poetry erupts in this one!
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Format: Paperback
I liked this book very much. Written in such an unusual style but still really accessible. Good to read some innovative Australian literature.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very satisfied... thank you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astoundingly readable mystery poem. 3 April 1998
By Rose Vines - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dorothy Porter's The Monkey's Mask is stunning: a novel written entirely in poetry that is almost impossible to put down. Even if you usually run a mile at the sight of poetry, you're likely to find this book irresistable. Dorothy's heroine is a lesbian private detective, who uncovers as much about herself as the mystery as the novel progresses. Set in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, The Monkey's Mask is rich with Australian idioms and imagery. It's also, very simply, a great mystery tale and a great read.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Cross-Genre 17 Jun. 2001
By Helen Hagemann - Published on
Format: Paperback
Another must read for poetry fans would have to be the book - The Monkey's Mask, by Dorothy Porter. It's a verse novel and a hybrid genre that is taking off in Australia. Les Murray, Australia's poet laureate, has one and so does Alan Wearne. Porter wrote this detective thriller around the Sydney poetry readings scene. What is remarkable about the book is the interweaving of Porter's poetry on the page, within a sordid scene of a missing angst-ridden, confessional poet. So as the story goes.. the protagonist, Jill Fitzpatrick, is the PI investigating... Mickey's disappearance - (the angst poet). I read the book back in my university days and it was the only book I have ever read in three nights. A sign, that when one sinks into a book so deep, it has achieved and captured the reader's undivided attention. The book's greatest achievement, on the subliminal level, is that not only is it written as poetry, but it incorporates Mickey's love poetry in the narrative. Porter's book, moreover, not only works through its compression of language, but it is power-driven by its structure, characters, plot, storyline and conflict. It's also just been made into a film, which gives much kudos to the book when a director like Samantha Lang (who did Elizabeth Jolley's book - The Well) has given a very close, erotic and visual adaptation of this verse novel. 'The Monkey's Mask' truly has to go down as one of the best reads, not only for its delicate handling of female homosexuality and eroticism, but through its sparcity of language that is, as we know it - accessible poetry. Congratulations to Dorothy Porter for this hybrid literature that is both inspirational and a great work of art.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A luscious thriller 30 July 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Jill Fitzpatrick is a private investigator hired to find a missing student. When the girl is found murdered, Jill promises the girl's parents that she'll find who did it. The girl's former poetry professor, Diana, weaves an intoxicating spell of seduction that overwhelms Jill. Is Diana just a simple, thoroughly enjoyable distraction to Jill's mission, or is there something darker hiding behind the woman? After another professor is killed, Jill finds that she herself might be next. Porter's saucy thriller, told through a series of poems, electrifies the senses and rockets the reader to its shocking end. Not only is it a spectacular mystery, but it's also a taut, dazzling story of obsessive, flooding desire.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Questions stereotypes of genre and themes 20 Nov. 2001
By sidneygrl - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Porter breaks the mold with 'The Monkey's Mask' - a lesbian detective poetry text which questions attitudes towards poetry, detective novels, gender, class and the myths of Australian society.
Interlaced with an investigation into the disappearance and later murder of Mickey, Jill the protagonist enters into unfamiliar terrority with her exploration into the world of poetry. She encounters people and situations which cause her to question her ideas about the identity of art as well as to begin to see beyond the surface in other aspects of life. Mixing Jill with characters of varying classes, Porter also asks the reader to examine their attitudes to the myths of Australian society, in particular the dominance of the idea that Australia is a classless egalitarian society. The much used themes of the Australian character as an unsophisticated, no-nonsense person in a society with limited acceptable roles available to it's people, (particularly in regards to gender)is questioned and the suggestion is that this view (or myth) may be outdated and overrepresented.
This text is a fast-paced, metatextual piece which captures the attention of the reader and takes the reader (well, this reader anyway) willingly along to emerge at the end with new ideas of current society, text genres and characters.
I highly recommend this text to anyone who is interested in delving into something innovative and thought-provoking.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hail the Narrative Poet! 16 Feb. 2000
By Ali Alizadeh - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In times when most readers wouldn't be cought dead buying a book of poetry, Dorothy Porter has proven the impossible by writing a book of poems that has become as popular as your avarage crime novel. While her story is nothing exceptional, she has carried out the incredible task of inroducing contemporary poetry to a generation of readers who can't tell Shakespeare from Ginsberg. She might have just opened the door for all the other poets who are tired of being ignored in favour of prose writers.
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