It was recently my pleasure to launch Zanesh Catkin’s novel Pangamonium (MidnightSun Publishing) at the SA Writers’ Centre and then again at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. Zanesh Catkin? Zanesh Catkin? As Owen Richardson asked in the Age, ‘can that be his real name?’ I think we can safely say no. And why not a pseudonym? If it was good enough for Miles Franklin – Brent of Bin Bin, An Old Bachelor etc etc – it’s good enough for … whoever it is who Zanesh Catkin may or may not really be.
I first read a draft of Pangamonium a few years ago. I liked it then and I like it even more now. It’s laugh-out-loud satire, razor sharp, and deadly serious: it takes unblinking aim at the west’s addiction for cheap goods and our talent for not asking too many awkward questions about why they’re so cheap (new smart phone, anybody?). It’s my sort of book, a relentless, raucous and grand adventure featuring pirates and buried treasure, slaves, a trigger-happy army, some particularly unusual cuisine, true love, mateship, and not least, a couple of larger-than-life and endearing central characters.