Puncher & Wattmann
by Matthew Karpin
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Michael Kutin is a member of the right faction of the NSW Labor Party who will stop at nothing to succeed. His wife, family, mistress, political friends and foes – all are pawns the ruthless Kutin is willing to sacrifice as he claws his way to the top. The Right charts the rise of Kutin through the ALP ranks, from pre-selection to cabinet, while also telling the story of those who are closest to him and those unfortunate enough to stand in his way. This is a frightening portrait of political power with a cast of figures all too familiar to the reader: self-serving career politicians, kingmakers, traitors and the betrayed, the corrupt and the innocent, the power-hungry, the good and the bad. The Right is a complex and intriguing novel that explores the modern family, its intersection with the machinery of political parties and their ruthless processes, and the compromises required of the individuals within each in order to survive. This is a novel about the kind of person and people who are behind the power culture that operates day to day in Australia. It is an attempt to understand Australians as political animals and their lives behind the faction curtain.
As well as being an exposé on the roller coaster ride of state politics, The Right also takes us on an inward journey into our fascination with public lives: the way we disseminate and devour news and current affairs and the manner in which we judge our political leaders or outcasts are interwoven with the private lives of each of its characters. The Right is written in an unexpectedly poetic style which evokes magnificently the tensions between internal sentiment and outward public life. Beautifully written with a cleverly articulated emotional pull, The Right is essential reading for anyone interested in the political process and contemporary Australian literature.
Matthew Karpin was born in Sydney and is the author numerous works of fiction, including In Our Own Day (1995) and The Thesis (2004). He holds a MA in English Literature from The University of Sydney where he was a founding editor of its literary magazine Hermes. He currently lives in Brisbane with his partner and his two children.