Brian Castro was educated at the University of Sydney.
Brian Castro received Master of Arts at the University of Sydney in 1976.
Castro moved to Australia to pursue his education in 1961. He worked for several years as a schoolteacher, specializing in languages, and has taught creative writing on the university level since becoming a prominent novelist. His 1982 debut novel, "Birds of Passage", was a cowinner of the Vogel prize given annually by its publisher, Allen & Unwin. His second and third novels, "Pomeroy" and "Double-Wolf", followed in 1991.
The latter was based on a historical figure in the field of psychoanalysis: Sergei Wespe, better known as Freud’s patient “the Wolf-Man.” The novel follows him, not only during the time covered by his psychoanalysis, but into his later life when he married a woman who committed suicide after the Nazi invasion of Vienna. The narrative follows events discontinuously, punctuated not only by shifts in setting but by passages that are intended to make the reader question the validity of narrative itself.
The widely reviewed "After China" appeared in 1992. Its protagonist is a Chinese architect named You Bok Mun, who, while staying at an Australian hotel that he has designed, meets and becomes symbiotically involved with a dying female writer. As in Double-Wolf, the narrative structure is fragmented and complex in the postmodernist vein, leaving one reviewer, David Coad in World Literature Today, to express disfavor. Daniel, however, applauded this “vast labyrinth of narrative,” one which occupied a mere 145 pages. Another Australian Book Review critic, David Gilbey, savored the short novel’s “brief and often brilliant vignettes." In Meanjin, Rosemary Sorensen praised the novel’s “surface shine and sparkle,” which made it, for her, “rewarding reading.”
"Drift", the novel which followed in 1994, was a partly imagined, partly researched tale based on the work of a real, though obscure, British novelist, B.S. Johnson, who lived from 1933 to 1973. Taking off from some of Johnson’s published and unpublished work, and using Johnson as a character with only the most minimal of name changes (Bryan Stanley, his first two names, became Byron Shelley), Castro constructed a novel on two historical planes, one of them resting in contemporary London and the other in colonial Tasmania. Writing for World Literature Today, reviewer David Coad had little praise for the novel and commented that the plot was “impossible to summarize,” and the novel “followed the postmodern recipe religiously.”
In 1998 Castro produced another novel. "Stepper", a psychological novel of espionage set in Tokyo during World War II, its protagonist (the title character) is a German journalist who is also a spy. Lonely, suspicious, and complex, Stepper has an affair with a modernized Japanese woman named Reiko; this prompts his gradual emotional self-exploration during the course of the narrative. For Jayne Margetts in an online review for Between the Lines, this is “a novel of astounding prosaic beauty, claustrophobic depths and language.” That critic saw Castro as “a unique voice in the political and espionage wilderness,” whose “pen works frantically and effortlessly in the darker and nocturnal hours of the night as he layers complexity upon complexity.”
Currently he is a Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide and Director of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice. He currently lives in the Adelaide Hills.
On August 10, 1976 Brian married Josephine Mary Gardiner.