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Born in Adelaide in 1941, Murray Bail now lives in Sydney. His fiction, which includes Eucalyptus, Holden's Performance, Homesickness and The Drover's Wife and Other Stories, has been translated into more than twenty-five languages, winning a number of major awards.
Murray Bail has been masterfully reinventing his writing for more than 30 years in short fiction, novels, criticism and art history. In The Voyage, his first novel in three years, it's fair to say he has pushed the boundaries of his fiction further than ever. This is a short, but complex, novel: a double narrative wrapped around the voyage of Frank Delage, a Sydney piano manufacturer, to Vienna, cradle of classical music, to sell his revolutionary design of piano. We're part of a bigger, more complex voyage, as Delage's musings on the long, slow return boat journey home reveal, and it's in the ramifications of that journey that the novel's focus strengthens. Because the `voyage' is no less than the meeting point between old world and new, old ideas and creative innovation from new ones (the Viennese music critic rejects Delage's piano for its lack of imperfection). It's also about the relationship between the writer and the reader (Bail more than once brings our attention to the grievances of the unappreciated artist in an increasingly commoditised culture. The Voyage is a challenging, extremely idiosyncratic novel, and it's not for everyone, but it rewards anybody seriously interested in the worth of art in our world. David Gaunt is the co-owner of Gleebooks in Sydney
'There's a lightness to Bail's writing - a gentle stealth in its
revelations - that slowly but surely brings the reader alive'
Canberra Times. * Canberra Times *
'A lustrous piece of fiction, consistently surprising and illuminating, full of mirrors and illusions, but with the abiding face of real feeling and deep truth. We won't see a finer piece of fiction in the longest while' Peter Craven, Melbourne Age. * Melbourne Age *
'His works are to be savoured for their elegant artifice ... This novel is not the sum of its preoccupations but an essentially abstract work of art: an invention in the sense that Bach and his contemporaries used the term for some of their compositions' Andrew Reimer, Sydney Morning Herald. * Sydney Morning Herald *
'Few writers anywhere in the world can match the esteemed Australian for stylistic daring ... a short but sumptuous feast' The Irish Examiner. * Irish Examiner *
'Beautiful, lyrical, elegant, musical, often surprising and wittily allusive: it is a very readable and original example of high modernism's delight in experimentation ... deserves to be Booker nominated' The Lady. * Lady *
'Curiously exciting: one reads in a permanent faint fever, on tenterhooks, never knowing quite where a sentence or a paragraph may veer off to' John Banville, The Monthly. * Monthly *
'Intelligent and shockingly funny ... vastly thought-provoking ... this masterful concoction engages, excites and perturbs with singular virtuosity' Irish Times. * Irish Times *