“No one reads anything any more. They think Browning is a gun,” says Dorrigo Evans, the blighted hero of Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
The septuagenarian Dorrigo, who disdains an Australia “where the viewing of food preparation would be felt to be more moving than the reading of poetry” probably doesn’t read too many Sunday newspaper columnists.
He certainly doesn’t tweet or create hashtags “in solidarity”. He finds his camaraderie, his unity, in the books of old masters, choosing the words of Tennyson and Shelley over those of @IHateEverything sitting on their smartphone on a bus.