A man moves 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 time, he thinks, to review the spoils of a lifetime of seeing, a lifetime of reading. Which sights, people, books, fictional characters, turns of phrase and lines of verse will survive into the twilight? Feeling an increasing urgency to put his mental landscape in order, the man sets to work cataloguing his memories, little knowing what secrets they will yield and where his `report' will lead.Border Districts is a jewel of a farewell from one of the greatest living writers of English prose. Winner of the Australian 2018 Prime Minister's Literary Award and shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Award, this is Murnane's first work to be published in the UK in thirty years.
Publisher: And Other Stories
Number of pages: 144
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 10 mm
`Murnane, in his unfailingly serious way, is very funny.' Lidija Haas, Harper's Magazine`Fascinating . . . Relentlessly introspective but dependably playful.' Washington Post ---- `As Murnane remarks, "My writing was not an attempt to produce something called literature but an attempt to discover meaning", and his insistence on the artifice of written enterprise bears witness to a thoroughness and integrity that far outweigh the minor virtue - or minor vice - of readability.' Adrian Nathan West, TLS ---- `As Murnane remarks, "My writing was not an attempt to produce something called literature but an attempt to discover meaning", and his insistence on the artifice of written enterprise bears witness to a thoroughness and integrity that far outweigh the minor virtue - or minor vice - of readability.' Adrian Nathan West on Border Districts and Stream System, TLS ---- `Border Districts is bound together by intersected themes of light and faith. . . Murnane's is a vision that blesses and beatifies every detail.' "Devotees of Murnane (The Plains), the exacting Australian writer of crafty, austere fictions, will find familiar themes in this prismatic work: the fascination with color, the grassy landscapes, and the obsessive compiling of a mind's 'image-history.' The aged narrator, a 'student of colors and shades and hues and tints, ' has retired to a 'district near the border' of his unnamed native land. There he explores the regions of his psyche with a monklike devotion, 'study[ing] in all seriousness matters that another person might dismiss as unworthy, trivial, childish.' Publishers Weekly ---- 'An old man ruminates on landscapes and houses, authors and religion, colored glass and memory in this drifting quasi-fiction. The unnamed narrator, age 72, has recently moved from a city to live alone in a 'quiet township' near an unspecified border in an unnamed country. In the opening pages, he recalls his school days and the religious brothers who taught him.' Kirkus, starred review ---- 'His new book, Border Districts, is weird in the way everything he has published is weird. It possesses the peculiar quality of being intimately familiar and unidentifiable. (...) Border Districts is a bit like a Wordsworthian epic in quasi-lyrical mode that has been translated from the Hungarian and reconfigured as an old codger's attempt to find his fragments in his ruins and to adjust to his obsessions a language of maniacal precision and blindness. (...) This is a book that refuses to name names, and its elaborate winding stair will preserve the wonder of a sensibility at the edge of solipsism. (...) You will not find a more intimate or more lame or more deeply wrought piece of fiction anywhere in the world.' Peter Craven, The Australian ---- 'Border Districts is a quieter, gentler book than its forebears, weighted, but not haunted, by Murnane's Catholic upbringing and its echoes. It's also a synesthetic book, heady with colour' Beejay Silcox, Australian Book Review ---- 'Border Districts is a devotional manuscript in which the intention is not the divine but a recuperation, even a restoration, of self. It is thrilling. Nothing happens, everything happens." Helen Elliott, The Monthly ---- 'Murnane's fascination is now in what appears at the edge of his vision: the border separating what is glimpsed at the very brink of sight and what is just on the far side of seeing.' Benjamin H. Ogden, New York Times ---- 'External reality does not impede here on the mental -- instead, the two are parallel or complementary realms defined by different conditions of access: the one reachable by foot or car, the other by pondering the properties of light and what might be called speculative recollection.' Adrian Nathan West, Times Literary Supplement ---- 'Border Districts, with more room to expand, feels less formally oppressive while still holding the author's signature moments of crystalline detail and uncanny observation. (...) The sequences are inscrutable and resistant to interpretation.' Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal ---- 'This is writing peppered with phrases of a purposeful stiltedness. The result is tedious -- but fascinating. (...) In the absence of plot, Border Districts is bound together by intersected themes of light and faith.' Jamie Fisher, The Washington Post ---- `Border Districts is a strange and demanding experience, but to give over to its demands, to its way of making the familiar strange, is to open oneself to the delicate power of its rhythms, the haunting depth of its images, and the irrefutable craftsmanship in every sentence.' Louis Klee, Sidney Morning Herald ---- 'Border Districts excavates a fascinating subject: the experience of encountering fiction, and what our minds unconsciously conjure for us as we read ... Murnane's books persuasively insist that the amorphous contest of our minds are as real as external "reality"' - Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times ---- `Strange and luminous ... His books ... (are) really about the mind behind (their) characters: the singular, fascinating consciousness that gives them life.' - Jon Day, The Guardian ----'From a boy following Bassett Creek to an old man patrolling the borderlands, Murnane's books are expeditions that encompass a territory unlike any other.' - Chris Powers, New Statesman ---- 'Tamarisk Row is a remarkably acute portrayal of what it is to be a bullied, confused boy, while Border Districts is dazzling for its austerity, its cruel purity. Their sentences ring in the ear, and the novels stay with you.'- Daniel Swift, The Spectator ----`Relating his [Murnane's] disenchantment with `texts intended to explain the mind', he concludes that his own mind `must have been a paradise by comparison with the drab sites where others located their selves or their personalities or whatever they called their mental territories.' Border Districts is a letter from this austere yet infinitely fertile paradise.' Christian Lorentzen, London Review of Books ----'I read Border Districts gripped by that pensive elation which alerted me to great writers when I was a reader in my adolescence. That he can bring that most precious sensation up through me now must mean that Murnane is a writer of utmost brilliance.'Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond