I wonder if the reason for the problems that plague this series of essays is the length. Noel Pearson is a writer and thinker whom I very much admire, and I was sure I’d really enjoy this essay.
But I was wrong. It was long and meandering, like so many of the Quarterly Essays.
It seems the writers sit down, find some 20,000 words stretching out before them, panic and wonder how they will fill the space. Noel Pearson even takes to extensively quoting himself!
There’s some stuff of interest in here. But a lot of it rehashes ideas Pearson has well and truly fleshed out in his articles and newspaper columns. Read those first, recently collected in a book called ‘Up From The Mission’. Then maybe give this a go.
These essays should be punchy and bursting with things to say. Instead they’re generally effete and unfocused. And with not a lot to say.