Now reading: Inland by Gerald Murnane

Gerald Murnane, Inland book coverGerald Murnane, Inland (Faber and Faber 1989)

Gerald Murnane is a literary anachronism. Like the unreliable narrator of this novel, Inland, he rarely ventures from the physical world he knows. ‘I have travelled hardly anywhere in Australia and have never even thought of traveling overseas. I have never been inside an aeroplane. I have never owned a television set.’ And yet he creates the most vivid fictions of internal landscapes.

The opening sentence conjures parallels with Cervantes’ Quixote: ‘I am writing in the library of a manor-house, in a village I prefer not to name …’. But by the end of the first page the reader is very much aware of the more distinct and heavy parallels with the absurdist novels of Samuel Beckett. And in that, Murnane is a direct literary descendant of Beckett, Camus, Kafka and Borges. The narrator readily confuses, or fails to deny the possibility that dreams and walking life are distinct entities and that one is more real than the other. In fact, it is the suggestive power of dream that causes walking life. The repetitions of language and phrases, of thoughts, are mere labyrinths that we all weave around ourselves to protect and ensnare.

More of what I have read can be found under INFLUENCES.