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The Plains : Text Classics - Gerald Murnane

The Plains

Text Classics

By: Gerald Murnane, Wayne Macauley

eBook | 26 April 2012

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Winner of the Patrick White Literary Award, 1999. Introduction by Wayne Macauley.

There is no book in Australian literature like The Plains. In the two decades since its first publication, this haunting novel has earned its status as a classic.

A nameless young man arrives on the plains and begins to document the strange and rich culture of the plains families. As his story unfolds, the novel becomes, in the words of Murray Bail, 'a mirage of landscape, memory, love and literature itself'.

Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. He has been a primary teacher, an editor and a university lecturer. His debut novel, Tamarisk Row (1974), was followed by ten other works of fiction, including The Plains and most recently Border Districts. In 1999 Murnane won the Patrick White Award and in 2009 he won the Melbourne Prize for Literature. He lives in western Victoria.

Wayne Macauley is the author of three novels, Blueprints for a Barbed-Wire Canoe (2004), Caravan Story (2007) and The Cook (2011), and the short fiction collection Other Stories (2010). He lives in Melbourne.

'Murnane is quite simply one of the finest writers we have produced.' Peter Craven

'A distinguished, distinctive, unforgettable novel.' Shirley Hazzard

'Gerald Murnane is unquestionably one of the most original writers working in Australia today and The Plains is a fascinating and rewarding book...The writing is extraordinarily good, spare, austere, strong, often oddly moving.' Australian

'A piece of imaginative writing so remarkably sustained that it is a subject for meditation rather than a mere reading...In the depths and surfaces of this extraordinary fable you will see your inner self eerily reflected again and again.' Sydney Morning Herald

'The Plains has that peculiar singularity that can make literature great.' Ed Wright, Australian, Best Books of 2015

'Murnane touches on foibles and philosophy, plays with the makings of a fable or allegory, and all the while toys with tone, moving easily from earnest to deadpan to lightly ironic, a meld of Buster Keaton, the Kafka of the short stories, and Swift in A Modest Proposal...A provocative, delightful, diverting must-reread.' STARRED Review, Kirkus Reviews

'Known for its sharp yet defamiliarizing take on the landscape and an aesthetic of purity historically associated with it, The Plains is uniformly described as a masterpiece of Australian literature. Look closer, though, and it's a haunting nineteenth-century novel of colonial violence captured inside the machine's test-pattern image—a distant, unassuming house on the plains.' BOMB

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