One of the few books I would give five stars to. I loved this book and loved it even more as it brought back memories of driving down the Araluen Valley to Moruya to visit my mum and dad. There was also mention of the Canberra suburb Garran where I used to teach.
The book is a thinly veiled autobiography obviously telling the story of his life, particularly his married life to his first wife.
“Critically acclaimed, two-time winner of the Miles Franklin award, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize and numerous other literary awards, Miller’s new work is an exquisitely personal novel of love and creativity. ‘A thoughtful autobiographical work by an award-winning Australian novelist…traces themes of art and commitment through Crofts’ relationships with three women.
Sitting in a New York park, an old man holds a book and tries to accept that his contribution to the future is over. Instead, he remembers a youthful yearning for open horizons, for Australia, a yearning he now knows inspired his life as a writer. Instinctively he picks up his pen and starts at the beginning…
At twenty-one years, Robert Crofts leaves his broken dreams in Far North Queensland, finally stopping in Melbourne almost destitute. It’s there he begins to understand how books and writing might be the saving of him. They will be how he leaves his mark on the world. He also begins to understand how many obstacles there will be to thwart his ambition.
When Robert is introduced to Lena Soren, beautiful, rich and educated, his life takes a very different path. But in the intimacy of their connection lies an unknowability that both torments and tantalises as Robert and Lena long for something that neither can provide for the other.
In a rich blend of thoughtful and beautifully observed writing, the lives of a husband and wife are laid bare in their passionate struggle to engage with their individual creativity.
Alex Miller is magnificent in this most personal of all novels filled with rare wisdom and incisive observation.”