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A young petty criminal, Lee, wakes in a seedy motel to find a bullet in his side and a suitcase of stolen money next to him, with only the haziest memory of exactly how he got there. Soon he meets Dr. Wild, a morphine-addicted doctor who is escaping his own disastrous life. The two men form an unwilling, unlikely alliance and set out for the safety of a country estate owned by a former colleague of Wild's named Sherman.
As they flee the city, they develop an uneasy intimacy, inevitably revisiting their pasts even as they desperately seek to evade them. Lee is haunted by a brief stint in jail, while Wild is on the run from the legacy of medical malpractice. But Lee and Wild are not alone: they are pursued through an increasingly alien and gothic landscape by the ageing gangster Josef, who must retrieve the stolen money and deal with Lee to ensure his own survival. By the time Josef finally catches up to them, all three men have been forced to confront the parts of themselves they sought to outrun.
Praise for THE LOW ROAD
‘Womersley’s taut, almost monosyllabic prose creates a relentless momentum as it plunges into a black dreamscape with echoes of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Samuel Beckett, Horace McCoy, Georges Simenon and Philip K. Dick … He does not set out to solve puzzles, provide answers or fasten the ends of riddles together, though his plotting is captivating. His is an almost poetic concern for the death of people, the way there is no redemption at their end, only the sensation of a world torn from its hinge, barrelling through space … Maybe it is Cormac McCarthy of whom the reader is so naggingly reminded. It’s a big call, but Womersley’s mastery of rhythm and image is, like the crusty American’s, able to sustain complexity at the level of a sentence and a paragraph while holding the structures of his novel together ... This is writing you often stop to read aloud.’ — Graeme Blundell, The Australian
‘It is difficult to believe that The Low Road is a first novel. It has the controlled pace of an experienced hand … rife with images, it unfolds like a film … Womersley’s language is polished and assured, each word precisely chosen, and every image finely constructed.’ — Louise Swinn, The Age
‘As unflinching as Cormac McCarthy and as perverse as Ian McEwan, The Low Road blazes too with the lyricism of T.C. Boyle. It is a surprising and stunning debut.’ — Simon Hughes, Australian Financial Review Magazine
‘Womersley is a gifted writer with a curious and liberated command of the language … The Low Road is an engrossing, confronting and excellent novel from a talented young Australian writer.’ — Simone Atallah, ABC First Tuesday Bookclub
About the Author
Winner of Ned Kelly Awards for Australian Crime Writing: Best First Novel 2008.
Published: 3rd September 2007
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.240