The world lost one of its great grumps this week, Robert Hughes, dead at 74. Hughes was the best writer Australia has ever produced.
He wrote prolifically and broadly. He also wrote with guts and emotion. His epic recreation of our convict history, The Fatal Shore, stands as a truly horrifying account of the brutal origins of modern Australia. In his works on the city of Barcelona and his many books on art Hughes wrote with joy about all the possibilities of human creativity. In one of his best but lesser-known books, The Culture of Complaint, he wrote with scorn and disgust about one of the most pressing issues of the modern day.
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