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Set in the late nineteenth century, Tom Gilling’s magical novel tells the tale of Miles McGinty, a young man who decides to learn how to fly. We meet an entrancing cast of characters: among them a kind of swagman, an enigmatic fellow who makes his living doing levitation tricks; Eliza, Miles’s grandly theatrical mother; and Mr Windsor, a light-fingered pedagogue who likes to meddle in the affairs of others. But Miles McGinty is also a love story that takes flight when Miles meets Isabel McCauley, a clever, sceptical girl determined to prove her own destiny.
Miles McGinty will delight fans of Tom Gilling’s debut novel The Sooterkin which became a New York Times Notable Book, and announced the arrival of a powerful and beguiling new writer.
‘A novel that combines history and fantasy in a fluent, witty manner that never seems to strain for effect but constantly surprises with its twists of plot and subplot…It’s a wonderful cast and Gilling provides them all with stories that engage our sympathies and, at times, our wonder at his dexterity in keeping the good lines and the plot surprises coming…Gilling plays wonderful games with historical and imagined truth…This is the work of a disciplined virtuoso writer. It is one of the most memorably entertaining Australian novels in a long span. The pleasure of reading it is all too brief and the book is laden with sheer delights.’
‘This is not romance but Romance, the medieval genre that’s not concerned with minute fidelity to the real world, but with life transfigured with enchantment, the mundane and the mysterious alchemically mixed…the characters live and kick, and the detail is unfailingly deft…The plot, like Miles’ final flying machine, is a beautiful piece of engineering, its cogs and pulleys working soundlessly towards the denouement, which lifts the lovers up, up and away.’
‘Miles McGinty works not just becuase of the strength and unpredictability of its two central characters. This may be just a piquant love story. But, as it plays with history and technology, it finds copious other material with which to engage.’
‘A narrative that is as seamless and full of puff as a well-made sail in high wind…Tom Gilling has now proved himself an exceptionally talented novelist twice over.’
‘A beguiling novel’