Barley Patch

Barley Patch

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by Gerald Murnane
     
 

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Barley Patch takes as its subject the reasons an author might abandon fiction–or so he thinks–forever. Using the form of an oblique self-interrogation, it begins with the Beckettian question "Must I write?" and proceeds to expand from this small, personal query to fill in the details of a landscape entirely unique in world letters, a chronicle of the images… See more details below

Overview

Barley Patch takes as its subject the reasons an author might abandon fiction–or so he thinks–forever. Using the form of an oblique self-interrogation, it begins with the Beckettian question "Must I write?" and proceeds to expand from this small, personal query to fill in the details of a landscape entirely unique in world letters, a chronicle of the images from life and fiction that have endured and mingled in the author's mind, as well as the details (and details within details) that they contain. As interested, if not more so, in the characters from his books–finished or unfinished–as with the members of his family or his daily life, the narrator lays bare the act of writing and imagining, finally giving us a glimpse of the mythical place where the characters of fiction dwell before they come into existence in books. In the spirit of Italo Calvino and Georges Perec, Barley Patch is like no other fiction being written today.

Editorial Reviews

Smiljana Glisovic - Readings
“Murnane examines the nature of reading and writing and the construction of truths and fictions. And somehow, without the use of metaphor or simile,
but simple transparency, he approaches the underside of these concepts, the heart of the matter, the magic of the thing that is storytelling.”
Peter Craven
“Murnane is quite simply one of the finest writers we have produced.”
The Australian
“[A] book about another, more perfect book never destined to be written . . . It is like a big, polished stone thrown into the babbling brook of ordinary novels.”
Michael Heyward
“An obsessive, funny, wonderfully self-invented writer at the height of his powers.”
Library Journal
Why do we write? Why do we read? What is fiction? These questions haunt Murnane's inventive yet maddening stream-of-consciousness narrative. A man who may or may not be the author reflects on his reading life, where he was, and how he felt while deep in any one of thousands of novels. He reveals a penchant for inserting himself into a story until the line between reality and imagination is blurred. If our narrator is to be believed, his family moved from place to place as Dad gambled away his paychecks on horse races, Mom compensated through storytelling, and our young man grew into an adult more comfortable around books than people. Though a nonbeliever, he entered a monastery seeking the solitude to write fiction and poetry, a dalliance of short duration, but one that set him on the path to an impressive literary output. VERDICT Australian writer Murnane has received the Melbourne Prize and a Patrick White Award. His prose is alluringly evocative, his sense of humor sly and dry, but only some will have the patience to sift through the gimmickry that gives readers the uncomfortable feeling that the author is having them on.—Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib., Ft. Myers, FL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564787019
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
09/20/2011
Series:
Australian Literature Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
296
File size:
0 MB

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