8885293039615251416.jpg
Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y The Life of Houses single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2015 2015
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The Life of Houses explores, with a poet's eye for detail, the hidden tensions in an old established Australian family that has lived for generations in a large house in a coastal town in south-eastern Australia. These tensions come to the surface when the granddaughter Kit is sent by her mother to spend a holiday with her grandparents, and the unmarried aunt who looks after them, in their old and decaying house by the sea. Kit barely knows them, because her mother is estranged from the family and never talks to or visits them. Recently divorced from Kit's father, she sends her daughter to her parents now so she can pursue an affair with her new lover. Kit's presence brings the old quarrels to life as family memories take hold of the present, brought to a flashpoint by the anger and resentment of Kit and her mother, and the dementia and sudden illness of her grandparents. The Life of Houses is written in an extraordinarily expressive and dynamic prose that makes use of the close focus and the oblique perspectives that Gorton has mastered so successfully in her poetry. It is a style reminiscent of Henry James and Patrick White, a high style, perfectly suited to the social decorum and inhibition of her socially elevated but unhappy subjects.' (Publication summary)

Notes

  • Launched by David Malouf on Sunday 17 May at Gleebooks, Glebe NSW.
  • Dedication: For my children Kelso, Toby and Penelope

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Artarmon, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Giramondo Publishing , 2015 .
      8885293039615251416.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 216p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 1st April 2015
      ISBN: 9781922146809

Works about this Work

Inhabiting Spirits Kerryn Goldsworthy , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , November 2016;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2016 : Judges Split Three of the $80,000 Prizes Jason Steger , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: Brisbane Times , 8 November 2016;
'Two years ago there was quite a kerfuffle when Tony Abbott intervened at the last moment to ensure the Prime Minister's Literary Award for fiction was shared between the novelist the judges had selected, Steven Carroll, and the PM's captain's pick, Richard Flanagan. ...'
Lisa Gorton Jane Sullivan , 2015 single work interview
— Appears in: The Age , 18 April 2015; (p. 24) The Canberra Times , 18 April 2015; (p. 13) The Sydney Morning Herald , 18 April 2015; (p. 24-25)
'The award-winning poet’s first novel emerged from a fascination not with the past itself, but rather the people who are obsessed by it, writes Jane Sulllivan.'
Where the Walls Can Speak in Cast-off Voices Felicity Plunkett , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 2-3 May 2015; (p. 19-20)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
When Still Lives Need More Than Observation Helen Elliott , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 16-17 May 2015; (p. 25) The Sydney Morning Herald , 16-17 May 2015; (p. 29)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
An Acute Study of Family Dysfunction Geoff Page , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 16 May 2015; (p. 14)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Review : The Life of Houses SR , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 18 April 2015;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Well Read Katharine England , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 30 May 2015; (p. 32)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel ; Hopscotch Jane Messer 2015 single work novel
Champagne Flutes Catriona Menzies-Pike , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June-July no. 372 2015; (p. 19)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Lisa Gorton : The Life of Houses Lou Murphy , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Newtown Review of Books , July 2015;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Megan Nash, of Lisa Gorton, The Life of Houses Megan Nash , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Long Paddock , vol. 75 no. 1 2015;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Alexandra McLeavy Reviews The Life of Houses by Lisa Gorton Alexander Macleay , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Mascara Literary Review , October no. 18 2015;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
The Collapse of Space : On Lisa Gorton’s The Life of Houses John Kinsella , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , 1 October no. 52.0 2015;
'I think making comparisons between Lisa Gorton’s The Life of Houses and other writers is somewhat distracting of the novel’s achievement. If there was another novelist who came to mind during my reading of this novel it was actually Virginia Woolf, though this was in a distant modernist way, and echoed my reading of To the Lighthouse of almost thirty years ago. (As I write, my partner Tracy Ryan, calls out from her study and reads a piece to me saying Lisa Gorton herself draws this link to Woolf – which I didn’t know when I read the book and thought it.) No, what came to mind was actually the ‘tension’ between ‘technical drawing’, representational painting and a late expressionism. My markers were visual, which might be assumed, with Anna running a gallery and the subtext of the novel being representations of the actual world as aesthetic, and how much they don’t translate. Scott’s drawing of Kit is wrong and he knows it, and so does Kit, but in telling a lie about her it also tells her a lie she needs to hear. In that liminal dubious way he interacts with her, giving a snowball effect (in a hot climate) to rumours of impropriety with the teenager Hugh he’d also sketched in school uniform, board shorts, and various states of ‘naturalism’; though the subjects were dressed, in the sketches the capturing of skin, hair and flesh is more exposing than the naked body – juxtapose to the ‘life drawing’ classes and the indifference of the model, and Kit’s fascination with the colour of her breasts). Patrick’s being something of a forger who taints the family name in odd and abstracted ways is also a disclaimer that affects the way the reader interprets and absorbs the visual in the book.' (Author's introduction)
Best Reads – End of Story Deborah Bogle , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 20 December 2015; (p. 24)
Where the Walls Can Speak in Cast-off Voices Felicity Plunkett , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 2-3 May 2015; (p. 19-20)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
When Still Lives Need More Than Observation Helen Elliott , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 16-17 May 2015; (p. 25) The Sydney Morning Herald , 16-17 May 2015; (p. 29)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
An Acute Study of Family Dysfunction Geoff Page , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 16 May 2015; (p. 14)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Review : The Life of Houses SR , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 18 April 2015;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Well Read Katharine England , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 30 May 2015; (p. 32)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel ; Hopscotch Jane Messer 2015 single work novel
Champagne Flutes Catriona Menzies-Pike , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June-July no. 372 2015; (p. 19)

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Lisa Gorton : The Life of Houses Lou Murphy , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Newtown Review of Books , July 2015;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Megan Nash, of Lisa Gorton, The Life of Houses Megan Nash , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Long Paddock , vol. 75 no. 1 2015;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Alexandra McLeavy Reviews The Life of Houses by Lisa Gorton Alexander Macleay , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Mascara Literary Review , October no. 18 2015;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Inhabiting Spirits Kerryn Goldsworthy , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , November 2016;

— Review of The Life of Houses Lisa Gorton 2015 single work novel
Lisa Gorton Jane Sullivan , 2015 single work interview
— Appears in: The Age , 18 April 2015; (p. 24) The Canberra Times , 18 April 2015; (p. 13) The Sydney Morning Herald , 18 April 2015; (p. 24-25)
'The award-winning poet’s first novel emerged from a fascination not with the past itself, but rather the people who are obsessed by it, writes Jane Sulllivan.'
The Collapse of Space : On Lisa Gorton’s The Life of Houses John Kinsella , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , 1 October no. 52.0 2015;
'I think making comparisons between Lisa Gorton’s The Life of Houses and other writers is somewhat distracting of the novel’s achievement. If there was another novelist who came to mind during my reading of this novel it was actually Virginia Woolf, though this was in a distant modernist way, and echoed my reading of To the Lighthouse of almost thirty years ago. (As I write, my partner Tracy Ryan, calls out from her study and reads a piece to me saying Lisa Gorton herself draws this link to Woolf – which I didn’t know when I read the book and thought it.) No, what came to mind was actually the ‘tension’ between ‘technical drawing’, representational painting and a late expressionism. My markers were visual, which might be assumed, with Anna running a gallery and the subtext of the novel being representations of the actual world as aesthetic, and how much they don’t translate. Scott’s drawing of Kit is wrong and he knows it, and so does Kit, but in telling a lie about her it also tells her a lie she needs to hear. In that liminal dubious way he interacts with her, giving a snowball effect (in a hot climate) to rumours of impropriety with the teenager Hugh he’d also sketched in school uniform, board shorts, and various states of ‘naturalism’; though the subjects were dressed, in the sketches the capturing of skin, hair and flesh is more exposing than the naked body – juxtapose to the ‘life drawing’ classes and the indifference of the model, and Kit’s fascination with the colour of her breasts). Patrick’s being something of a forger who taints the family name in odd and abstracted ways is also a disclaimer that affects the way the reader interprets and absorbs the visual in the book.' (Author's introduction)
Best Reads – End of Story Deborah Bogle , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 20 December 2015; (p. 24)
Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2016 : Judges Split Three of the $80,000 Prizes Jason Steger , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: Brisbane Times , 8 November 2016;
'Two years ago there was quite a kerfuffle when Tony Abbott intervened at the last moment to ensure the Prime Minister's Literary Award for fiction was shared between the novelist the judges had selected, Steven Carroll, and the PM's captain's pick, Richard Flanagan. ...'
Last amended 9 Nov 2016 07:21:42
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