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W. John Hackwell
A U.S. multinational purchases a rare and valuable Australian Aboriginal art collection that they then donate to the Chicago Art Institute. The artists however, live in rags and dog-boxes in the middle of one of the world’s pristine deserts, and apparently know nothing about the sale. Just another day in Outback Australia -- so discovers Joseph Schmoot, the Jewish-American art appraiser sent to interview the artists.
Well 37 is a satirical adventure story full of action and outlandish characters, a gonzo drama in which the sophisticated Jewish urbanite, Joe finds himself screwing up big time. But it is also a serious expose of the life of a people exploited, dispossessed, and broken by a country that does not love them and the forces of international politics and capitalism and the grubby hand of local power. Yet it is also a redemptive story in which the artists find some justice, and Joe, so alienated from himself and his Jewish heritage, not only discovers the redemptive value of his own culture but something of love too, with the woman who dedicates all her waking hours to the health of the community which is dying before her very eyes.
- RICHARD LEVER
Artist, archaeologist, Indigenous community development adviser, writer, Antarctic expeditioner and adventure traveller, W John Hackwell has written and illustrated 4 award-winning books for young readers including:
Digging to the Past – Recovering Ancient Wrecks (1986) MacMillan, New York,
Signs, Letters, Words – Archaeology Discovers Writing (1987) MacMillan, New York,
Diving to the Past – Recovering Ancient Wreck (1988) MacMillan, New York, and
Desert of Ice – Life and Work on Antarctica (1991) MacMillan, New York.
Well 37 is the writer’s second novel, his first, Black Angel Journey was published by Avon Books, London. (1995)