Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-sh8wx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-19T10:25:16.089Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

From Vance Palmer's The Passage to Susan Johnson's The Landing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2017

Susan Lever*
Get access


This article compares Vance Palmer's classic novel, The Passage (1930), set in Caloundra, with Susan Johnson's The Landing (2015), a comic novel of manners set at the northern end of the contemporary Sunshine Coast. It considers the novels’ different perspectives on Australian society and changing values, including attitudes to nature, arguing that Palmer's novel now seems more idealistic than realist while Johnson's cynicism about Australian life shows some disturbing elements beneath the comedy.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Bennett, Bruce and Pender, Anne 2013. ‘Hungry ghosts: The fiction of Susan Johnson and the expatriated self’, in From a distant shore: Australian writers in Britain 1820–2012. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, pp. 215–29.Google Scholar
Driscoll, Beth 2015. ‘Could not put it down’. Sydney Review of Books, 20 October, Scholar
Houllebecq, Michel 2001. Platform. London: Vintage.Google Scholar
Johnson, Susan 2015. The landing. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Google ScholarPubMed
Johnson, Susan, Hayes, Antonia and Bishop, Stephanie 2015. ‘As one in rejecting the label “middlebrow”’. Sydney Review of Books, 30 October, Scholar
Jordan, Deborah 2013–14. ‘Finding a spiritual home in the Australian environment: Katharine Susannah Prichard and Vance Palmer in the 1920s’. Australasian Journal of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology 3, Scholar
Palmer, Vance 2001 [1930]. The Passage. Sydney: Halstead Press.Google Scholar
Palmer, Vance 1954. The Legend of the Nineties. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
Ramadge-Ross, Barbara 2008. A surfside story: The Bulcocks of Caloundra. Caloundra: Caloundra Family History Research Inc.Google Scholar
Smith, Vivian 2002. ‘Vance Palmer’, in Samuels, Selina (ed.), Dictionary of literary biography: Vol. 260 Australian writers 1915–1950. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, pp. 262–75.Google Scholar