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Here is a masterpiece of unusual substance. The author himself is a peculiar fellow (worth reading about), but this novel has been described as feeling "less like something you've read than something you've dreamed." It is just that. Haunting, mesmerizing prose that picks you up and leaves you suspended, making you care more about the aesthetic quest of the Australian plains than you ever dreamed possible. The Plains goes deep, exploring a world aesthetic, spiritual, and cosmic, all the while impossible to articulate.
Matthew— From The Plains
'Murnane, a genius, is a worthy heir to Beckett.'--Teju Cole
'A careful stylist and a slyly comic writer with large ideas.'--Paris Review
'A distinguished, distinctive, unforgettable novel.'--Shirley Hazzard
'Deeply mysterious yet grounded in familiar, everyday detail, this novel is an alchemical miracle, converting vision into pure narrative... In the depths and surfaces of this extraordinary fable you will see your inner self eerily reflected again and again.'--Sydney Morning Herald
On their vast estates, the landowning families of the plains have preserved a rich and distinctive culture. Obsessed with their own habitat and history, they hire artisans, writers and historians to record in minute detail every aspect of their lives, and the nature of their land. A young film-maker arrives on the plains, hoping to make his own contribution to the elaboration of this history. In a private library he begins to take notes for a film, and chooses the daughter of his patron for a leading role.
Twenty years later, he begins to tell his haunting story of life on the plains. As his story unfolds, the novel becomes, in the words of Murray Bail, 'a mirage of landscape, memory, love and literature itself'.
Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. He is the author of ten novels, which have been widely translated. His memoir, Something for the Pain was published in May 2016. He lives in western Victoria.