8145509977539591927.jpg
Source: Abe Books
y Head of Orpheus Singing single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1973 1973
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Set on the Greek island of Lesbos, where the author had lived for a number of years, Head of Orpheus Singing tells of the ex-patriot Australian and the simple life of the islanders, to whom the book is dedicated.

In Robert Dessaix's 2001 novel, Corfu : A Novel, his protagonist reflects on Berwick's novel, published some thirty years previous:

It appears to be about a middle-aged Australian widower who comes to Molyvos to teach English, becomes the inseparable friend of a teenage peanut-vendor called Euripides and thenm when Euripides and his weeping mother move to Australia, gets married to a tedius, clinging woman he feels no passion for (a student of his from Australia called Claire – a pretty but watery name) and settles down on Molyvos forever. He has a few ricocheting sorts of encounters with a clutch of other characters – a retired headmistress, the police, assorted foreigners – but basically that seems to be the story. Not for a moment, of course, did I ever think that that was what the book was about, so I quickly read it twice.

Pain certainly drips. Little by little, page by page everyone drops away…. So it's about loss and the kind of inner grace you need to bear it. It's about contentment, even though life's most precious gift – friendship - slowly seeps away. Everyone grows smaller and then disappears. This is the nub of it – friendship in its many guises.

Notes

  • Includes allusions to Greek mythology, particularly the story of Orpheus and his music.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Angus and Robertson , 1973 .
      8145509977539591927.jpg
      Source: Abe Books
      Extent: 251p.
      ISBN: 0207954720

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Melbourne The University Library

Works about this Work

y Corfu : A Novel Robert Dessaix , Sydney : Picador , 2001 Z895119 2001 single work novel

'"House in Gastouri for rent for 2 mths. Occupant travelling. Reasonable rent."

In a village on the island of Corfu, alone in the cottage of a man he's never met, a young Australian actor pieces together the strange life story of the writer whose house he's living in. As he explores his surroundings and makes new friends in Corfu, his own life begins to appear to him like an illuminating shadow-play of his absent host's.

Set in the physical landscapes of the Greek islands, Adelaide and the suburbs of London, Robert Dessaix's second novel is about friendship, love, the ordinary and extraordinary. Yet at its core is a perfectly placed meditation on literary landscapes–Homer, Sappho, Cavafy and Chekhov–and the part art can play in making our lives beautiful' (publisher blurb).

y Corfu : A Novel Robert Dessaix , Sydney : Picador , 2001 Z895119 2001 single work novel

'"House in Gastouri for rent for 2 mths. Occupant travelling. Reasonable rent."

In a village on the island of Corfu, alone in the cottage of a man he's never met, a young Australian actor pieces together the strange life story of the writer whose house he's living in. As he explores his surroundings and makes new friends in Corfu, his own life begins to appear to him like an illuminating shadow-play of his absent host's.

Set in the physical landscapes of the Greek islands, Adelaide and the suburbs of London, Robert Dessaix's second novel is about friendship, love, the ordinary and extraordinary. Yet at its core is a perfectly placed meditation on literary landscapes–Homer, Sappho, Cavafy and Chekhov–and the part art can play in making our lives beautiful' (publisher blurb).

Last amended 15 Sep 2016 09:44:08
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