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y separately published work icon The Pages single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2008... 2008 The Pages
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'On a family sheep station in western New South Wales, a brother and sister work the property while their reclusive brother, Wesley Antill, spends years toiling away in one of the sheds, writing his philosophy.

'Now he has died. Erica, a philosopher, is sent from Sydney to appraise his life's work. Accompanying her is Sophie, who needs distracting from a string of failed relationships. Her field is psychoanalysis.

'The pages Wesley wrote lie untouched in the shed, just as he left them. What will they reveal? Was he a genius? These turn out to be only a couple of the questions in the air. How will the visit change the lives of Erica and Sophie?' (Publisher's blurb)


  • Reading Group Guide available through the Text Publishing website.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2008 .
      image of person or book cover 4769246031713925600.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 199p.
      ISBN: 9781921351464 (hbk.)

Other Formats

Works about this Work

A Piano Made in Australia : Reinventing an Emblem of Cultural Wealth in Murray Bail's The Voyage Marie Herbillon , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 31 no. 2 2017; (p. 361-373)

'[...]it is a conversation about Australia that exposes the sense of cultural superiority of the "ridiculously over-confident" (53) "Bertolt Brecht lookalike" (48; see also 94) and opposes it to Delage's own lack of self-confidence (exemplified, in the first place, by "his surprise" at being asked about his native countr y; 92). [...]the critic is more interested in Australia's natural stereotypes than in its architectural icons, which implies that, in his view, nature easily outweighs culture on the antipodean continent: "he only wanted to know about the dangerous spiders and sharks that infested Australia, and the snakes, how lethal were they really" (92); for him, the Sydney Opera House, which Delage's personal complex of secondarity leads him to consider "provincial" (70), is simply "typical of the New World['s]" preference for "appearance over substance" (92), while Delage is, for his part, tempted to think that it is precisely his piano's "appearance . . . [that] had shifted attention from the technical improvements hidden beneath the lid" (148). According to Eileen Battersby, Bail's "concise in scale" but "vastly thought-provoking novel" contains "some inspired nods to the great Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard's final [sic] novel, Woodcutters" (1984), which offers an über-critical portrayal of a "cannibalistic city" seemingly graced with a propensity for dragging the higher reaches of its "ap- palling society" (Bernhard 34) into what Bernhard describes as an insufferable "social hell" (4)-thereby subverting the values of this cultural elite from within since he8 was, up to a certain point, part of the same "artistic coterie" (Bernhard 84). [...]the Australian creator's own ongoing subservience to Western standards (despite Europe's enduringly paternalistic and misplaced assumptions of cultural superiority) is presented as his or her predicament.'  (Publication abstract)

“Towards an Australian Philosophy: Constructive Appropriation of Enlightenment Thinking in Murray Bail’s The Pages” Marie Herbillon , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Gateways and Walls : Under Construction 2016;
'We are All Philosophers; We Cannot Help Being' : Credos, Life-Choices and Philosophy in Murray Bail's The Pages Michael Ackland , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 12 no. 3 2012;
A critical study of Murray Bail's novel, The Pages.
Farce and Philosophy Collide in 'The Pages,' Murray Bail's Latest Novel Michael Upchurch , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: Seattle Times , 15 August 2010; (p. 4)

— Review of The Pages Murray Bail , 2008 single work novel
Missed Appointments : Convergences and Disjunctures in Reading Australia across the Pacific Nicholas Birns , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Reading Across the Pacific : Australia-United States Intellectual Histories 2010; (p. 91-103)

'This essay will discuss both what the Australian-American cultural relationship has been built upon, and why that transpacific architecture has not been more foregrounded. It begins by focusing on Americans who had transient relationships with Australia, but ones that yet impacted on their careers and were emblematic of patterns in the transpacific relationship. The traffic between the US and Australia these individuals represent indicates that beneath formal notice there exists a patchwork of encounters ramified in such a way as to provide a base for later criss-crossings. Yet, in each case, fissures are also revealed - 'missed appointments' - that suggest why the potential transpacific 'rendezvous with destiny' was never actualised in the era where that above phrase had recent resonance.

Three of these Americans—Arlin Turner, John Hope Franklin, and Constance Helmericks--were from the West or South, and the fourth, James Michener, though from the East, early evinced an interest in parts of his country and the world beyond the Eurocentric orientation imposed on privileged Americans. The paper will also look at Margaret Mead and the entire idea of "Australasia" with which she was associated to diagnose patterns of racial and cultural images conveyed, or misconveyed, in the trans-Pacific process.' (Author's abstract).

Untitled Anna Hood , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , June vol. 87 no. 9 2008; (p. 48)

— Review of The Pages Murray Bail , 2008 single work novel
Landscape of Light Diane Stubbings , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 28 June 2008; (p. 11)

— Review of The Pages Murray Bail , 2008 single work novel
Philosopher's Tome Katharine England , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 28 June 2008; (p. 12)

— Review of The Pages Murray Bail , 2008 single work novel
Outback Quest for Insight Nigel Krauth , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 28-29 June 2008; (p. 10-11)

— Review of The Pages Murray Bail , 2008 single work novel
Estrangement in Paradise Delia Falconer , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Literary Review , July vol. 3 no. 6 2008; (p. 4-5)

— Review of The Pages Murray Bail , 2008 single work novel
A Hard Task Master Deborah Bogle , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 21 June 2008; (p. 10-11)
Modesty Prevails Susan Wyndham , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28-29 June 2008; (p. 32-33) The Age , 28 June 2008; (p. 26-27)
The $42,000 Question Morag Fraser , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 25-26 April 2009; (p. 33)
Five Males and a Miles Jason Steger , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 13 June 2009; (p. 24-25)
Jason Steger previews the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award. He looks at each of the shortlisted works in turn, noting their authorship, their 'form' and quoting from reviews previously published in the Age.
What's Wrong with Australian Fiction? : A Sceptical Look at the Miles Franklin Shortlist David Free , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Quadrant , December vol. 53 no. 12 2009; (p. 22-29)
'Once in a while, a literary prize gets awarded to the most talented writer in the field. Admittedly this would happen a lot more often if the judges of such awards simply drew the prize-winner's name out of a hat. The Nobel committee, even if it occasionally pulled out the name of the hat-maker by mistake, would still obtain less bizarre results using the hat method than it does by applying its literary judgment. But still, when a literary award is given to the right winner for the right reason, you get a dim reminder of why such prizes were considered a good idea in the first place.'
Last amended 20 Aug 2014 14:45:53