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Our Shadows tells the story of three generations of family living in Kalgoorlie, where gold was discovered in 1893 by an Irish-born prospector named Paddy Hannan, whose own history weaves in and out of this beguiling novel.
Sisters Nell and Frances were raised by their grandparents and were once closely bound by reading and fantasy. Now they live in Sydney and are estranged. Each in her own way struggles with the loss of their parents.
Little by little the sisters grow to understand the imaginative force of the past and the legacy of their shared orphanhood. Then Frances decides to make a journey home to the goldfields to explore what lies hidden and unspoken in their lives, in the shadowy tunnels of the past.
‘An oblique and poetic novel…a vivid, unsettling study of mortality.‘
‘Weaving together multiple narratives…the novel sketches a family portrait full of love, loss, and regret.’
‘An intellectually strenuous entertainment concerned with the nature and loss of senses, of filial obligations and their cost, of the vertiginous role of chance…another rich and accomplished work. ’
‘A beautifully written and finely imagined novel.’
‘Gail Jones’s new novel, Our Shadows, provides readers with another virtuoso performance, showing a writer fully in control of her medium. It is a poetic and beautifully crafted evocation of shadowy pasts whose traumatic effects (in the world and in individual lives) stretch deep into the present and the future.’
‘Gail Jones deftly and sensitively brings together these disparate stories into a meditation on grief, loss, estrangement, identity and, strangely enough, mining and underground rescue. The concepts and feelings tackled here are beautifully universal, but told in a context that is uniquely Australian. Jones’s novel is an inventive blend of contemporary and historical fiction, real and imagined characters. This is required reading for anyone interested in the state of literary fiction in Australia today.’
‘When lists are made of the great novels of the Australian landscape, [Our Shadows] deserves to be among them.’