The Presence of Absence in The Sitters single work   criticism  
Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 The Presence of Absence in The Sitters
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'In the second paragraph of Alex Miller's The Sitters (1995) the narrator informs us that his memory of Jessica Keal allows him 'to approach the last enigma of my life - my family and my childhood. That cold legacy of silence and absence' (2). Bernadette Brennan's fine essay on The Sitters, in the context of Maurice Blanchot's meditations on death, notes that the narrator never explains 'why his experience with Jessica has given him the energy to begin painting...his childhood' (104). That it does so is indisputable, and Peter Pierce points us in the right direction, in his article on 'The Solitariness of Alex Miller', when he observes that Jessica functions as 'a Wordsworthian trigger to recover past 'spots of time'' (305). The connection between the frame of the entire narrative - and I use the word 'frame' not only to indicate a narrative frame but also in the sense of a picture frame, since this is a novel that foregrounds the connections between literary and visual art, between a novelist creating a character and a painter creating a portrait.' (Author's introduction 78)

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  • Appears in:
    y The Novels of Alex Miller : An Introduction Robert Dixon , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012 Z1856233 2012 anthology criticism 'One of Australia's most respected novelists, Alex Miller's writing is both popular and critically well-received. He is twice winner of Australia's premier literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award. He has said that writing is his way of 'locating connections' and his work is known for its deeply empathic engagement with relationships and cultures.

    This collection explores his early and later works, including Miller's best-known novels, The Ancestor Game, Journey to the Stone Country, Lovesong and Autumn Laing. Contributors examine his intricately constructed plots, his interest in the nature of home and migration, the representation in his work of Australian history and culture, and key recurring themes including art and Aboriginal issues. Also included is a memoir, illustrated by photographs from his personal collection, in which Alex Miller reflects on his writing life.

    With contributions from leading critics including Raimond Gaita, Peter Pierce, Ronald A. Sharp, Brenda Walker, Elizabeth Webby and Geordie Williamson, this collection is the first substantial critical analysis of Alex Miller's work. It is an invaluable resource for anyone teaching and studying contemporary Australian literature.' (Publisher's blurb)
    Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012
    pg. 78-88
Last amended 11 Jul 2012 12:21:53
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