Murray Bail’s acclaimed The Pages is our pick for Friday Book Club this week.
It was a privilege to be allowed into the mind of another person, the life work of another. She was curious to see what he had thought, what he had found. Already she respected his effort. It would have been difficult to sustain across the pages, the many years, the isolation, the heat, perhaps the silence.
What are the pages?
On a family sheep station in western New South Wales, a brother and sister work the property while their reclusive brother, Wesley Antill, spends years toiling away in one of the sheds, writing his philosophy.
Now he has died. Erica, a philosopher, is sent from Sydney to appraise his life’s work. Accompanying her is Sophie, who needs distracting from a string of failed relationships. Her field is psychoanalysis.
The pages Wesley wrote lie untouched in the shed, just as he left them. What will they reveal? Was he a genius? These turn out to be only a couple of the questions in the air. How will the visit change the lives of Erica and Sophie?
The Pages is a beguiling meditation on friendship and love, on men and women, on landscape and the difficulties of thought itself, by one of Australia’s greatest novelists, the author of the much-loved Eucalyptus.