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Gerald Murnane
Topic Started: Jul 5 2010, 08:29 AM (6,021 Views)
johnnywalkitoff
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So beautiful. Here as some of the many quotes Liam posted (for those who need a little more prodding):

A man's landscape is lying within himself: within some broad but invisible zone composed of his memories, which are mostly memories of dreams.

I would go on reading until my thoughts ranged across hundreds of landscapes varied enough to satisfy any of my changeable moods.

I decided that falling in love was nothing else than wanting urgently to see a woman's landscape.

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Steven, in case you are curious, all of those short quotes came from Murnane's short story collection Landscape with Landscape, :)
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Liam
Nov 26 2011, 07:00 PM
Steven, in case you are curious, all of those short quotes came from Murnane's short story collection Landscape with Landscape, :)
>.< will take a trip to a nearby-ish library next week that stocks some of murnane's work, especially since I only own one of it, and sent that to a friend, without having read it first. they have that one, and the landscape thing.
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suzannahhh
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I'm deep in
in Barley Patch

so deep that the "voice" of it
be it Murnane's or the narrator-image
continues speaking in my head
even when I am not reading!

it's a most extraordinary work!
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Not official yet, at least I haven't heard from Giramondo, but it seems there'll be a new Gerald Murnane book coming out in 2012.

No further details, but this article lists it under fiction, so I am hoping it's another lengthy piece along the lines of Barley Patch.

According to the article, A History of Books will be released in June.

If Blair et al have any other piece of information they can add, I would much appreciate it! :)
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nnyhav
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Liam
Jan 1 2012, 01:16 PM
If Blair et al have any other piece of information they can add, I would much appreciate it! :)
Actually, now that you mention it ... I'm curious about Barley Patch publication history, in that originally it was Giramondo, but the Dalkey Archive version, while acknowledging, lists copyright as 2011, and is 50pp shorter. The latter I might consign to format, but the former indicates it isn't the former ... a re-edit?
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Maybe next time you'll order straight from the Aussie publishers? :)
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Jacek
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I think what Dave is wondering about is whether Murnane himself touched up/down the book in certain ways for Stateside republication (not to put words in his mouth, though). Any ideas, Funhouse?
Edited by Jacek, Jan 1 2012, 02:30 PM.
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Funhouse
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I'm afraid I can't shed any light on either the new book or on the Barley Patch republication by Dalkey. It seems unlikely to me that he would have re-edited it. I'll let you know if I come across any further information, though. Excited about the new one!
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Funhouse
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Here's a beautiful little film snippet of Murnane at home in his study: Inside the rural home and workspace of writer Gerald Murnane
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johnnywalkitoff
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Thanks for setting me looking, Great video, Blair. Found this http://emmettstinson.blogspot.com/2012/01/gerald-murnanes-new-novel.html at emmett stinson's blog as you can tell by the web address. I really thought Barely Patch would be his last piece of writing so this is great news.
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Funhouse
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johnnywalkitoff
Jan 2 2012, 03:21 PM
Thanks for setting me looking, Great video, Blair. Found this http://emmettstinson.blogspot.com/2012/01/gerald-murnanes-new-novel.html at emmett stinson's blog as you can tell by the web address. I really thought Barely Patch would be his last piece of writing so this is great news.
I should have thought to check out Mr Stinson. And that's terrific that there's another novel to come after A History of Books as well...
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Funhouse
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Here's my 200 word review of A History of Books for the trade journal Australian Bookseller+Publisher:

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A History of Books is in many ways a continuation of the musings of Murnane’s 2009 book Barley Patch. It’s a safe prediction that A History of Books will be unlike any other book published in Australia this year. It consists of a long series of anecdotes about a man and the books he has read and how they relate to his life and his memories. The work ranges back and forward in time and plays with subtle repetitions that might seem tedious to the casual reader but build to a very satisfying conclusion. It embodies the literary life, describing a man who “preferred to the visible world a space enclosed by words denoting a world more real by far.”

The book also includes three shorter works of fiction that develop further the depiction of someone who “would seek in books what most others sought among living persons”. Murnane has an utterly unique vision and approach to writing fiction, but it’s not a vision that everyone will appreciate with its absence of plot and character development. To my mind there is no greater living Australian writer, however it’s likely that his audience will remain a small one.

Star Rating: ***** (5)



To expand slightly beyond my word limit, it's another remarkable piece of work. Like Barley Patch it's a bit of a slow burn, and I was getting a little irritated in the early pages about the way he continually refers to "image-person", "image-landscape" etc. when describing works of fiction, but the accumulated effect of these accounts builds until you feel like you're grasping something seemingly simple but profound about the way we relate to fiction. None of the books or authors he describes are named so it becomes a bit of a parlour game to work out who or what he's referring to. I could identify Proust and Kerouac and the Australian writer Henry Handel Richardson amongst others, and I think one of the Hungarian writers he refers to (and translates a passage from himself) is Sandor Marai. There are a bunch I couldn't work out from the description, though.

It's a slim work, just 125 pages and then three shorter works to flesh it out to 200 pages all up. But fuck, the man is brilliant.

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Excellent review, Blair, and yes, I am getting the book directly from Giramondo when they finally release it this summer, :)
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Publication date for A History of Books has been changed from June to May! Time to pre-order my copy, is what I think, :)

This new work by Gerald Murnane is a fictionalised autobiography told in thirty sections, each of which begins with the memory of a book that has left an image on the writer's mind. The titles aren't given but the reader follows the clues, recalling in the process a parade of authors, the great, the popular, and the now-forgotten. The images themselves, with their scenes of marital discord, violence and madness, or their illuminated landscapes that point to the consolations of a world beyond fiction, give new intensity to Murnane's habitual concern with the anxieties and aspirations of the writing life, in the absence of religious belief.

A History of Books is accompanied by three shorter pieces of fiction which play on these themes, featuring the writer at different ages, as a young boy, a teacher, and an old recluse.

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Funhouse
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Great! I'm hoping to get a bound copy of it as I did the review from a photocopied manuscript. I've been promised one, but we'll see.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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i'd love to know if he's been thought, written about or taught in conjunction with Blanchot or Jean-Luc Marion, since many people can't resist writing up and teaching, when they spot a consonance or possibility
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I emailed Giramondo last night and they told me to get back to them in a couple of months, and they'll arrange something about shipping me a copy.

Steven (you wanker!!!!!!!), maybe you can do that too, as I know you've been dying to get your hands on the Lilacs book? it would be much cheaper than ordering it used from eBay or Amazon--
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Conversational Reading:

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I must thank Jeremy Davies of the Dalkey Archive for introducing me to Barley Patch by Australian writer Gerald Murnane. I met Jeremy over Dalkey’s impressive spread of titles at the most recent AWP conference and asked him to recommend me the best book he could. Barley Patch was the book he told me to buy.


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The book definitely does offer a “network of images” approach, but its much more laid back than recent examples of the genre have been. Barley Patch is much more Proustian in its rhythms than with authors like Enrique Vila-Matas or Victor Pelevin, whose networks of images can at times verge on hall-of-mirrors territory. In the latter two authors, the enigma in their work tends to come from images whose relationships feel overdetermined—it gives you an over-caffeinated, jittery feeling, where you just know something is happening, but can’t quite finger it. In Barley Patch the interactions feel much more incidental, having the quality of connections one might make in a dream.

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Funhouse
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Reading Gerald Murnane by Nicholas Birns in the latest issue of Context.

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If a writer like Peter Carey, with his inventiveness, verve, and prescience, is the outward face of Australian literature, Murnane is its inward face: contemplative, deeply humane, dedicated above all to craft.


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The Plains is superbly successful on its own terms. What is interesting, though, is that Murnane’s subsequent works do not stay at this level of abstraction, but turn back inward to reality, much as Cézanne turns back to the object after Impressionism. This does not mean resuming the realism of the first two novels, but chronicling lived circumstances amid imaginary tableau. Inland (1988), perhaps Murnane’s greatest work, is filled with both displacement and pathos, of lost loves re-sought but never secured, of mirror-image collaborations as perilous as they are audacious, and of repeated geographical mantras that achieve both a Whitmanesque breadth and enjoy a modernist irony.


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Murnane is a writer to be experienced individually, as each reader embarks on their own journey in quest of, as the narrator of “Sipping the Essence” (Landscape With Landscape) put it, “something richly colored like Queensland that was not quite within my grasp.”
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