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Introduction by Stephen Romei
I felt as though I was walking on a precariously thin, transparent laminate between the mirror image of two separate worlds. Any minute, if I lost my footing and missed meeting the foot which rose to meet mine, I ran the risk of falling through.
When Wolfi, a brilliant young philosophy student, begins recounting his life—from his inquisitorial father and passionate mother, to his eccentric grandmother who paid for his sexual initiation with the beautiful Andrea—we are lured into a mysterious and erotic maze. But what in fact is fact, and what in fiction is fiction? Brilliantly seductive, Out of the Line of Fire was the literary sensation of the year when it was first published, in 1988.
‘A dazzling debut. A tour de force. This book is imaginative, virtuosic, and awesomely assured. It is compulsive reading.’
‘Experimental, extraordinary…Out of the Line of Fire, published in 1988, remains one of my favourite Australian novels.’
‘An Australian writer heads to Germany, where he gets strong doses of philosophy, violence, taboo sex, and unreliable narration…The novel feels like an id laid bare, and Henshaw keeps the story in line while constantly pointing out the limitations of words to capture reality. A remarkable and brainy work of metafiction.’
‘A clever and playful text, offering both a decent story that includes quite a few sordid episodes and behaviour as well as lofty (but accessible) literary and philosophical speculation, and more than a few mysteries…It’s an interesting take on the literary-philosophical novel, with a deceptively light writing touch that differentiates it from most continental novels playing with similar tricks. The scenes, the asides, and the speculation are, both separately and together, good (if sometimes somewhat creepy) fun, and Out of the Line of Fire is a smart and smartly twisted novel.’