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Border Districts: A Fiction par Gerald…
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Border Districts: A Fiction (original 2017; édition 2018)

par Gerald Murnane (Auteur)

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19013141,069 (3.75)4
In Border Districts, 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, which people, which books, fictional characters, turns of phrase, and lines of verse will survive into the twilight? A dark-haired woman with a wistful expression? An ancestral house in the grasslands? The colors in translucent panes of glass, in marbles and goldfish and racing silks? Feeling an increasing urgency to put his mental landscape in order, the man sets to work cataloging this treasure, little knowing where his "report" will lead and what secrets will be brought to light.… (plus d'informations)
Membre:lschiff
Titre:Border Districts: A Fiction
Auteurs:Gerald Murnane (Auteur)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2018), Edition: First Edition, 144 pages
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Mots-clés:fiction

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Border districts par Gerald Murnane (2017)

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I was finishing off an 800 (flawed but fascinating) biography of Napoleon: A life by Andrew Roberts when a friend recomended I read Murnane's 137 page Border Districts. So I opened it with relief at the prospect of brevity. Perhaps it was the constricted type-face of the And Other Stories 2019 edition that I read but it just didn’t appeal to me - even though it touched on several areas (landscapes of the mind and their enchantments) that interest me. I’m wondering if I can explain why I didn’t take to it? My type-face test was to read passages out-loud and suddenly, like a fresh breeze, the writing seemed to improve. But by taking a shorter form of a Proustian monologue (without Proust’s elegance) and using Slessor’s glass imagery to elucidate, in the words of Richard Jeffries, soul-thought, I think I wanted to find something richer or deeper. I found the repetitive phrasing by the scrupulous monologist irritatingly tedious. From the outset, I felt the twitch of a lip-curling reaction to what I thought might turn out to be yet another lapsed-Catholic purgation. But by page 15, as the monologist begins to explain his use of the term guard my eyes and how he employs the edge of vision as a border between memory and reality my interest was piqued enough to continue. And I did appreciate the resonances of the image of the church window smashers and his attempt to look through the photographs. If it is possible to distinguish between Murnane and his contrived monologist, the book made me feel like he was wearing his underwear over his clothes as he slipped back and forth between one after another paragraph and afterthought; from one after another window glass to return veranda and one after another tentative qualification to tentative realisation. Sorry to say that by the end the layers of repetitive phrasing (not just one after another) got in the way and, maybe because of it, this scrupulous man seemed to me to have little or nothing to say that interested me.
…I am therefore free to think of her as waiting for insight on the far side of one after another wall of amber-coloured stone behind one after another return veranda of one after another house that I see from the sides of my eyes in one after another border district. p. 126.


As an afterthought, just like him, secondary school left me with just a fragment of Latin (Catullus) that I have repeated to myself ever since:
Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requiris.
Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
(I hate and I love. Why do I do this, you may ask.
I don't know, but it happens, and it bothers me.)
( )
  simonpockley | Feb 25, 2024 |
Net als in zijn bekendste roman, het vroege The Plains (1982), begint dit recente verhaal (2017) van Gerald Murnane met de aankomst van het vertellend hoofdpersonage in een (Australisch) buitengebied. De precieze locatie krijgen we niet te weten, en blijkt ook niet echt relevant, want het is al vrij snel duidelijk dat we ‘Border District’ vooral ook in overdrachtelijke zin moeten interpreteren. De verteller trakteert ons op steeds meer dooreen lopende observaties en herinneringen, een onophoudelijke stroom van beelden, zowel in het nu als in het verleden. De man blijkt geobsedeerd door de imaginaire wereld, die zelfs echter lijkt dan de reële, en die dikwijls opgeroepen wordt door de lectuur van boeken, door lichtinvallen of door herinneringen aan vroeger tijden. Je kan dit boek dan ook gerust een kortere variante op “A la recherche du temps” noemen, en de soms breed uitgesponnen zinnen doen ook vanzelf aan Proust denken. Murnane heeft er een meanderend en almaar complexer netwerk van verbeeldingen van gemaakt, dat intrigeert, maar waar je als lezer op de duur compleet in verdwaalt: het lijkt wel of de realiteit complete verbeelding is geworden, en wellicht is het net dat wat Murnane beoogde. ( )
  bookomaniac | Nov 1, 2023 |
I gave a two-part review, which includes Jacques Roubaud's Some Thing Black at these two links:

https://walkingthewire.substack.com/the-call-of-the-voice-the-cry-of
https://walkingthewire.substack.com/the-call-of-the-voice-the-cry-of-05f ( )
  KatrinkaV | Mar 25, 2023 |
Studies show (I'm being serious) that books that win big prizes sell far more copies after winning the prize, and also see a major dent in their critical reception, because people who would not otherwise be interested in the book start to read it and review on, e.g., goodreads. I've started to take account of this for myself, and I now try to avoid reading prize-winning books, even if everyone else is reading them, unless I know that I care about what the author is doing. I bring this up because this is quite literally Gerald Murnane's last book. It was very nice of FSG to publish this and his collected short fiction, and it was fun to see Murnane, of all people, in the pages of the New York Times, but it also means that more than a few people who have no interested in what Murnane is doing have read this book (of all the places to start!) and are now apparently complaining about how the writing is nice but it's 'stream of consciousness' and the narrator is easily distracted and why is he writing about light and stained glass, anyway?

Two things to note: this is not stream of consciousness, it's just essayistic, first person narration. You can see that, because stream of consciousness doesn't use first person pronouns very much, and Murnane uses them all the time. SoC is meant to mimic the thoughts that flow through our heads; Murnane is reconstructing and writing, not trying to trick you into thinking you have direct access to his feelings. Stained glass is important because it is very common in churches (you don't say? But the key part is that you can't see stained glass from outside the church) and in early 20th century Australian homes (which are now thought of as wonderful little gems of this-worldly taste), and this is a book about being old and dying, and wondering what heaven might look like--although, of course, you can't see heaven from the outside.

If that doesn't sound interesting to you, I recommend you not read the book. You'll be missing the final piece in one of the great literary careers of your lifetime--Murnane has expanded the Proustian vein of modernism in astonishing ways; his prose is unique and fascinating; his thinking is charming and odd and capacious. But for god's sake, please do not read it and then complain about it, loudly, online, because you don't care about or are not interested in what he's doing. Instead, start with one of his earlier books, and then come to this one a bit later. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
R58

There should be an Age Limit sticker on the front of this book like they have on movies, you know R18 and so on.

On this book it should be R58.

This is a meditation on life by an old man, a view inside an old mind and the many, many artefacts left in there once the dross of civilisation has faded. For that is what happens as you age, all that nicety and correctness, that compliance and conformity, that interest and urgency, they all fade to what they really are, just hot air and human waste. So much wasted effort on so many stupid things as your life passes you by.

One of the things that constantly surprises me in my old age is the memories that are wedged in there real tight, memories of no apparent significance but persistent none the less. I like his strolling through his memories and the minutiae of the connections. I can feel the expanse of where he lives, I can feel that light on the back of my problematic eyes.

I like his musings on the apparent shallowness of peoples (and his own) beliefs or maybe shallowness is not the right word, more the transience of peoples beliefs. I like how he takes his time to think about these things, something so seldom seen now.

I can understand how this book may not gel with some people either for its content or its style. It is unashamedly different but it stands in its own shoes. Imagine living in a city and never having seen these wide open spaces where a mind can grow old and report back to the rest of us on what awaits there.

( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
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Nom de l'auteurRôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Gerald Murnaneauteur principaltoutes les éditionscalculé
Schmidt, Rainer G.Traducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé

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In Border Districts, 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, which people, which books, fictional characters, turns of phrase, and lines of verse will survive into the twilight? A dark-haired woman with a wistful expression? An ancestral house in the grasslands? The colors in translucent panes of glass, in marbles and goldfish and racing silks? Feeling an increasing urgency to put his mental landscape in order, the man sets to work cataloging this treasure, little knowing where his "report" will lead and what secrets will be brought to light.

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