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y separately published work icon Border Districts single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Border Districts
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Conceived as Gerald Murnane’s last work of fiction, Border Districts was written after the author moved from Melbourne to a small town on the western edge of the Wimmera plains, near the border with South Australia. The narrator of this fiction has made a similar move, from a capital city to a remote town in the border country, where he intends to spend the last years of his life. It is a time for exploring the enduring elements of his experience, as these exist in his mind, images whose persistence is assured, but whose significance needs to be rediscovered. Readers of Murnane’s earlier work will recognise some of these images: the dark-haired young woman at a window; the ancestral house set in grasslands; coloured glass, marbles, goldfish, the outfits of jockeys. Murnane’s images often draw their power from the light that falls upon them from a distant or mysterious source. But he also considers the possibility that the mind casts its own light, imbuing the images in the observer’s mind with the colours of his soul.

'As Murnane’s narrator declares, ‘the mind is a place best viewed from borderlands’. In this work, Border Districts also refers to the border country between life and death; and there is another meaning, in the narrator’s discovery of others who might share his world, even though they enter it from a different direction, across the border districts which separate, or unite, two human beings.' (Publication summary)

Notes

  • Other formats: Also large print.

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 , 2017 .
      image of person or book cover 2709333023622957769.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 164p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 1 November 2017

      ISBN: 9781925336542
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Farrar Straus and Giroux ,
      2018 .
      image of person or book cover 7054927272111902081.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 132p.p.
      ISBN: 9780374115753, 0374115753

Works about this Work

Gerald Murnane’s Prime Minister’s Literary Award Is Long Overdue Anthony Uhlmann , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 5 December 2018;

'I first came to Border Districts through a brief description of it given to me by Gerald Murnane when I first met him three years ago. I thought he had told me that he did not think it was as complex as another work he wrote around the same time, A Million Windows.' (Introduction)

Your Guide to the Miles Franklin Shortlist : A Kaleidoscopic Portrait of a Diverse Nation Jen Webb , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 23 August 2018; The Guardian Australia , 23 August 2018;

'The Miles Franklin award is famously for “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases”. That’s a very broad palette, yet for most of the award’s existence — 1957 to the present — it has recognised a rather narrow field of “Australian life”.' (Introduction)

Two New Books From Australia, Unconstrained by Literary Convention Benjamin H. Ogden , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The New York Times Book Review , 18 June 2018;

'Born in 1939, Gerald Murnane is an Australian author of 14 books of memoir and fiction, each of which is wonderfully unusual in that it takes as its focus the mental images Murnane sees while he writes, the scenery surrounding those images and the way one mental image will lead to another and then another. Murnane’s books, apart from his early novel “The Plains,” aren’t about anything in the way that most fiction is about events and action among characters whose motivations interest the reader. Rather, the few thousand pages that Murnane has produced since his 1975 debut, “Tamarisk Row,” are a record of what he has seen when he tried to look at the place that is his own mind, and the effort of a lifetime that it has been for him to explore the inner reaches of this place through writing about it.' (Introduction)

Gerald Murnane’s Endless Island Ryu Spaeth , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The New Republic , 4 May 2018;

'At the very moment of his breakthrough, Gerald Murnane is threatening to disappear. The 79-year-old Australian writer—long considered a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, an association that speaks both to his genius and obscurity—is enjoying a rare moment in the sun. As he told The New York Times Magazine in a recent profile, “My publishing history’s just so checkered with sudden reversals, ups and downs, confusions, wrong turnings, and at the end of my life, virtually, it seems like things are starting to work out.” He has a new home with a major U.S. publisher (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, after many years with various independent houses), which has released two volumes of work previously unavailable to a general American readership: Stream System, his collected short fiction, and Border Districts, a novel. Yet these books have the feeling of a farewell: The first is a career-spanning overview, while Murnane has said that the latter is his final work of fiction.' (Introduction)

[Review] Border Districts Helen Elliott , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , February no. 141 2018; (p. 72)

— Review of Border Districts Gerald Murnane , 2017 single work novel

'A man arrives to live in a country town “just short of the border” with a resolve to “guard my eyes”. To explain how he came by the expression “guard my eyes”, he begins a narrative of the past, of himself as a boy, then a youth. At the end of the book the origin of the expression is clarified. And the reader is stilled, humming with a new alertness.' Introduction

[Review] Border Districts JR , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 25 November- 1 December no. 184 2017;

— Review of Border Districts Gerald Murnane , 2017 single work novel

'It begins, this mesmeric inward spiral of a book, with a digressive turn towards the past: Two months ago, when I first arrived in this township just short of the border, I resolved to guard my eyes, and I could not think of going on with this piece...; (Introduction)

Into the Woods Beejay Silcox , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , December no. 397 2017; (p. 26)

— Review of Border Districts Gerald Murnane , 2017 single work novel

'There is a whiff of mythology about Gerald Murnane. He is quietly infamous for who he isn’t: for the things he’s never done (travel by aeroplane); the things he’ll never do (live outside of Victoria, wear sunglasses); the things he’ll never do again (watch movies or a Shakespeare play); the books he won’t read (contemporary fiction); the books he won’t write (interrogations of national identity); and the literary prizes he hasn’t won (almost all of them – much to critical incredulity). Australians often struggle with strangeness: we do not easily surrender to the unconventional, the wilfully eccentric, or the unapologetically clever. It’s hard to know what to do with a writer who is all three.' (Introduction)

[Review] Border Districts Helen Elliott , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , February no. 141 2018; (p. 72)

— Review of Border Districts Gerald Murnane , 2017 single work novel

'A man arrives to live in a country town “just short of the border” with a resolve to “guard my eyes”. To explain how he came by the expression “guard my eyes”, he begins a narrative of the past, of himself as a boy, then a youth. At the end of the book the origin of the expression is clarified. And the reader is stilled, humming with a new alertness.' Introduction

Fragments of Light in the Ruins Peter Craven , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 18 November 2017; (p. 22)

'Gerald Murnane has been at the game of fiction (or whatever it is he does) for a long time. His 1982 novel The Plains, with its dazzling invocation of the idea of landscape, made a world of readers realise fiction could be made abstract and lyrical.' (Introduction)

Gerald Murnane’s Endless Island Ryu Spaeth , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The New Republic , 4 May 2018;

'At the very moment of his breakthrough, Gerald Murnane is threatening to disappear. The 79-year-old Australian writer—long considered a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, an association that speaks both to his genius and obscurity—is enjoying a rare moment in the sun. As he told The New York Times Magazine in a recent profile, “My publishing history’s just so checkered with sudden reversals, ups and downs, confusions, wrong turnings, and at the end of my life, virtually, it seems like things are starting to work out.” He has a new home with a major U.S. publisher (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, after many years with various independent houses), which has released two volumes of work previously unavailable to a general American readership: Stream System, his collected short fiction, and Border Districts, a novel. Yet these books have the feeling of a farewell: The first is a career-spanning overview, while Murnane has said that the latter is his final work of fiction.' (Introduction)

Two New Books From Australia, Unconstrained by Literary Convention Benjamin H. Ogden , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The New York Times Book Review , 18 June 2018;

'Born in 1939, Gerald Murnane is an Australian author of 14 books of memoir and fiction, each of which is wonderfully unusual in that it takes as its focus the mental images Murnane sees while he writes, the scenery surrounding those images and the way one mental image will lead to another and then another. Murnane’s books, apart from his early novel “The Plains,” aren’t about anything in the way that most fiction is about events and action among characters whose motivations interest the reader. Rather, the few thousand pages that Murnane has produced since his 1975 debut, “Tamarisk Row,” are a record of what he has seen when he tried to look at the place that is his own mind, and the effort of a lifetime that it has been for him to explore the inner reaches of this place through writing about it.' (Introduction)

Your Guide to the Miles Franklin Shortlist : A Kaleidoscopic Portrait of a Diverse Nation Jen Webb , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 23 August 2018; The Guardian Australia , 23 August 2018;

'The Miles Franklin award is famously for “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases”. That’s a very broad palette, yet for most of the award’s existence — 1957 to the present — it has recognised a rather narrow field of “Australian life”.' (Introduction)

Gerald Murnane’s Prime Minister’s Literary Award Is Long Overdue Anthony Uhlmann , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 5 December 2018;

'I first came to Border Districts through a brief description of it given to me by Gerald Murnane when I first met him three years ago. I thought he had told me that he did not think it was as complex as another work he wrote around the same time, A Million Windows.' (Introduction)

Last amended 5 Dec 2018 10:38:20
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