Lorsqu'en 1914, Ashley Crowther revient en Australie, dans le Queensland, pour s'occuper de la propriété héritée de son père, il découvre un paysage merveilleux peuplé de bécasses, d'ibis et de martins-chasseurs. Il y fait également la connaissance de Jim Saddler, la vingtaine comme lui, passionné par la faune sauvage de l'estuaire et des marais. Au-delà de leurs différences personnelles et sociales, les deux jeunes hommes ont en commun un véritable amour de la nature. Et ils partagent un rêve : créer un sanctuaire destiné aux oiseaux migrateurs.
Loin de là, l'Europe plonge dans un conflit d'une violence inouïe. Celui-ci n'épargnera ni Jim, qui rejoint un camp d'entraînement à Salisbury, ni Ashley, envoyé à Armentières. Seul témoin de la parenthèse heureuse qui les a réunis, Imogen, une photographe anglaise amoureuse comme eux des oiseaux, saura-t-elle préserver le souvenir des moments exceptionnels qu'ils ont connus ?
Traduit pour la première fois en français, ce roman signé par l'un des plus grands écrivains australiens contemporains, et publié il y a près de quarante ans, s'impose avec le temps comme un chef-d'oeuvre empreint de poésie et de lumière. « Le roman magnifiquement sobre d'un immense poète. »
The Daily Telegraph
Une rançon marque le retour au roman de l'immense écrivain qu'est l'Australien David Malouf, prix Femina étranger pour Ce vaste monde. Il réinterprète ici magistralement l'une des scènes les plus célèbres de L'Iliade. Celle où Priam, du haut des murs de Troie, assiste à la profanation du corps d'Hector, traîné derrière le char d'un Achille rendu fou de douleur par la mort de son ami Patrocle. Prêt à tout pour récupérer le cadavre de son fils, le vieillard, dépouillé des attributs de la royauté, se dirige alors vers le camp des Grecs dans une simple charrette tirée par des mules. Achille et Priam: deux hommes face à leur souffrance, au chagrin, en quête de rédemption. Incandescent et crépusculaire, ce livre au lyrisme puissant et délicat, à l'instar de l'épopée légendaire qu'il restitue, résonne singulièrement dans le monde d'aujourd'hui.«Un chef-d'oeuvre, superbement écrit, plein de sagesse et extraordinairement émouvant, élaboré avec cet art indiscernable qui laisse le lecteur pantois.» Alberto Manguel«Un livre impressionnant qui marque durablement l'esprit du lecteur.» The New York Times
In the first century AD, Publius Ovidius Naso, the most urbane and irreverant poet of imperial Rome, was banished to a remote village on the edge of the Black Sea. From these sparse facts, one of our most distinguished novelists has fashioned an audacious and supremely moving work of fiction.
Marooned on the edge of the known world, exiled from his native tongue, Ovid depends on the kindness of barbarians who impate their dead and converse with the spirit world. But then he becomes the guardian of a still more savage creature, a feral child who has grown up among deer. What ensues is a luminous encounter between civilization and nature, as enacted by a poet who once catalogued the treacheries of love and a boy who slowly learns how to give it.
Each house, like each place, has its own topography, its own lore. A complex history comes down to us, through household jokes and anecdotes, odd family habits, and irrational superstitions, that forever shapes what we see and the way in which we see it.
Beginning with his childhood home, David Malouf moves on to show other landmarks in his life, and the way places and things create our private worlds. Written with humour and uncompromising intelligence, 12 Edmondstone Street is an unforgettable portrait of one man's life.
From the image of a small boy entranced by his mother's GI Escort, yet still hoping for the return of a father 'missing in action', to the portrait of an adult writer trying to piece together a defining image of his late father, these outstanding stories conjure up with sharp intensity the memories and events that make a man.
These powerfully vivid stories range over more than a century of Australian life, from green tropical lushness to 'blacksoil country', from scrub and outback to city streets - evoking dark shadows beneath a bright sun, and lives shaped by the ghosts of history and the rhythms of unruly nature.
A young man going off to war tries to make sense of his place in the world he is leaving; a composer's life plays itself out as a complex domestic cantata; an accident on a hunting trip speaks volumes, which its inarticulate victim never could; and a down-to-earth woman stubbornly tries to keep her feet on the ground at Ayers Rock.
Malouf's men and women are together but curiously alone, looking for something they seem to have missed, or missed out on, in life. Powerfully rooted in the heat and the dust of the vast Australian continent, this is a heartbreakingly beautiful and richly satisfying collection by a master storyteller, one of the great writers of our time.
A picture of Australia at the time of its foundation, focused on the hostility between early British settlers and native Aboriginals. It is essentially the story of a boy caught between both worlds. David Malouf, himself an Australian, is the prize-winning author of "The Great World".
The year is 1827, and in a remote hut on the high plains of New South Wales, two strangers spend the night in talk. One, Carney, an illiterate Irishman, ex-convict and bushranger, is to be hanged at dawn. The other, Adair, also Irish, is the police officer who has been sent to supervise the hanging. As the night wears on, the two discover unexpected connections between their lives, and learn new truths. Outside the hut, Adair's troopers sit uneasily, reflecting on their own pasts and futures, waiting for the morning to come. With ironic humour and in prose of starkly evocative power, the novel moves between Australia and Ireland to explore questions of nature and justice, reason and un-reason, the workings of fate, and the small measure of freedom a man may claim in the face of death. A new novel by Malouf is a major event; The Conversations At Curlow Creek will confirm him as one of the greatest novelists of our time.
Born on a poor dairy farm in Queensland, Frank Harland's life is centred on his great artistic gift, his passionate love for his father and four brothers and his need to repossess, through a patch of land, his family's past. The story spans Frank's life; from before the First World War, through years as a swaggie in the Great Depression and Brisbane in the forties, to his retirement to a patch of Australian scrub where he at last takes possession of his dream.
Harland's Half Acre tells how a man sets out to recover the land his ancestors discovered and then lost and how, in fulfilment, this vision becomes a new reality.
Every city, town and village has its memorial to war. Nowhere are these more eloquent than in Australia, generations of whose young men have enlisted to fight other people's battles - from Gallipoli and the Somme to Malaya and Vietnam. In The Great World, his finest novel yet, David Malouf gives a voice to that experience. But The Great World is more than a novel of war. Ranging over seventy years of Australian life, from Sydney's teeming King's Cross to the tranquil backwaters of the Hawkesbury River, it is a remarkable novel of self-knowledge and lost innocence, of survival and witness.
For three very different people brought together by their love for birds, life on the Queensland coast in 1914 is the timeless and idyllic world of sandpipers, ibises and kingfishers. In another hemisphere civilization rushes headlong into a brutal conflict. Life there is lived from moment to moment. Inevitably, the two young men - sanctuary owner and employee - are drawn to the war, and into the mud and horror of the trenches of Armentieres. Alone on the beach, their friend Imogen, the middle-aged wildlife photographer, must acknowledge for all three of them that the past cannot be held.
In The Happy Life David Malouf addresses one of the most fundamental questions of all: what makes for a happy life? In an age where our bookshelves are full of self-help volumes and tales of perfect romantic love, his discussion is particularly relevant. He asks why, when so many of the essential 'unhappinesses' - premature death, famine, plague, material poverty - have largely disappeared in the developed world, does happiness continue to elude us?
With elegance and insight, David Malouf finds new and old ways to talk about contentment and the self. He returns to the wisdom of the classics, and discusses how, thanks to Thomas Jefferson, happiness became a 'right'; in a dialogue on Rubens and Rembrandt he explores the sensual happiness of the flesh; he covers the difficulties of the modern world's obsession with consumption; and finally the consolation and sympathy provided by art and literature.
In luminous prose, with ideas to savour and reflect upon, Malouf distills millennia of thought and philosophy in The Happy Life into a fascinating and tangible argument.