Clement Killeaton transforms his father’s gambling, his mother’s piety, his fellow pupils’ cruelty and the mysterious but forbidden attractions of sex into an imagined world centred on horse-racing and played out in the dusty backyard of his home, across the landscapes of the district, and the continent of Australia. An unsparing evocation of a Catholic childhood in a country town in the late 1940s, Tamarisk Row’s lyrical prose is charged with the yearning, boredom, fear and fascination of boyhood.
First published in Australia in 1974, and previously unpublished in the UK, Tamarisk Row is Gerald Murnane’s debut novel, and in many respects his masterpiece.Read an Excerpt
- Gerald Murnane was coined in The Guardian as “one of Australia’s greatest writers” and The New York Times considers him “one of the best English-language writers alive.”
- Gerald Murnane speaks to Tristan Foster at 3:AM Magazine about writing, craftmanship, and his place in Australian literature.
- You can read The New Yorker‘s profile of Gerald Murnane here.
‘An enigmatic author, possibly the best you’ve never heard of . . . His work insists on the reality of the inner world—perhaps even its primacy.’
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
‘The chief pleasures here are his departures from convention, eccentricities of tone and diction, and flights of fancy, all trademarks of his later fiction. . . An essential entry in this exceptional writer’s corpus.’
New York Times
‘Strange and wonderful and nearly impossible to describe.’
London Review of Books
‘Murnane’s fantasies are many-layered, and the narration weaves between these and his mundane life in thrillingly long, lyrical sentences.’
‘An authentically modernist novel ... Its themes, as well as its technique, place him in the tradition of Katherine Mansfield and James Joyce’
'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.'
The New Statesman
'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.'
‘Impressive, sustained attention is paid to this strange dream-zone of childhood’
New York Times Magazine
‘The greatest living English-language writer most people have never heard of . . . The next Nobel Laureate in Literature.’
‘Murnane, a genius, is a worthy heir to Beckett.’
Ben Lerner on Gerald Murnane
The New Yorker
‘Murnane’s sentences are little dialectics of boredom and beauty, flatness and depth. They combine a matter-of-factness, often approaching coldness, with an intricate lyricism.’
M. A. Orthofer
‘Murnane's writing is carefully, thoughtfully worded, his deliberations seemingly open, even as there's obviously much more hidden care and attention behind it.'
Australian Book Review on Gerald Murnane
‘[The] Nobel Prize contender writes like a clockmaker: every sentence is a finely tooled cog, every book an exquisite machine.’