Reviews of Scoundrel Days
Scoundrel Days, provides us with that rarest of literary treats: a good dose of the shocking … an immersive, vital prose that almost drags the reader along. This is not your ordinary memoir. Frazer is writing here in the tradition of Helen Garner, Andrew McGahan and Nick Earls. This is dirty realism at its dirtiest.
A visceral and urgent internal perspective which is both direct and poetic, often charming, and sometimes bleakly funny. Frazer oscillates between bravado and moments of self-awareness. This enigmatic, self-styled outsider bravely lets us into the inner sanctum, which makes for a fascinating read.
Frazer is a legendary protagonist, in the vein of Bukowski’s literary alter-ego. His writing is compared to McGahan’s coming-of-age novel Praise, but Frazer uses that nervy present-perfect tense to take us further, faster, harder. It has more in common with the hyperbolic, ugly-beautiful prose of Kathy Acker.
Brentley Frazer’s language is electric, ornate, oddly formed and brilliant, poignant, sometimes surreal images and passages abound. The longer poems have a mixture of sharp, even dazzling writing. The vocabulary is massive, events and situations are charged, and the voice of the poet compelling. These collected meditations rip apart what we image to be ‘order’ . . . Frazer performs his trademark linguistic magic, penetrating everything from personal trauma to world order. In his hand, little is left unnoticed or forgotten by the poet, who has about him both the dreamer and the theorist, whose keen eye infiltrates everything it sees.
Brentley Frazer’s poetry is making it new again and in an exciting way, his lines crackle with the energy of a great technician who has something important to say, this book will make waves and many friends.
“Poet and author Brentley Frazer recounts his rebellious youth with searing honesty in his memoir Scoundrel Days. Gritty with a lyrical cadence, the characters and violent, drug-fuelled, sexually-charged experiences he recounts are compelling for their raw detail and darkness. Frazer’s innate attraction to dissent, his untamed spirit and how it shaped his young life will sometimes shock, but makes reading his words an addiction in itself.”
Frazer's collection of poems, Aboriginal to Nowhere (2016) is overall superb. He sometimes pushes the issues, the darkness, the anger, etc., too much, but it is hard to fault him in his direction, and he is exciting for sure. He is different in a familiar way, and sometimes he is simply extraordinary.
Described by Dazed & Confused as a ‘21st century Baudelaire on acid’Brentley’s unconventionality, radicalism, aggression, schizophrenia, non-adaptability and sublimity with hallucinogenic scenes and pornographic moments, a bizarre mix of elements of neo-symbolism and post-romanticism, wrapped in a form of hypertext prose, finds itself somewhere at the intersection of Burroughs, Breton, Rimbaud, Salinger and Ian Curtis.