About the author

Gabrielle Carey

About the book

Judges' report

The late Australian novelist and poet Randolph Stow, generally regarded as one of the country’s most important novelists, left Australia in 1966 and lived out the rest of his life in rural England. In this unusual and reflective book, Gabrielle Carey explores her personal connection with Stow – his long-standing friendship with her mother – and her own growing fascination with the novelist and his work. It is an intriguing generic hybrid, partly intelligent memoir and partly insightful cultural history, showing the mixed reaction from Australian critics and readers to Stow’s work and the effect it had on his life and writing.

This is a meditative book moving in widening circles of exploration rather than a story driven by events, but the reader feels a powerful pull to keep on reading a book that is, in its quiet way, so alluring and seductive. While the subject matter is engaging in itself, focusing on Stow’s own singular nature and moving across a wide range of topics from the Australian materialism and fear of metaphysics prevalent in mid-twentieth-century cultural life to the nature of personal friendship and the way it is expressed in letters, Carey’s own thoughtful, gentle, questioning voice is a major part of the book’s appeal.

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