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Winner of the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction
Shortlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award
The art historian Noah Glass, having just returned from a trip to Sicily, is discovered floating face down in the swimming pool at his Sydney apartment block. His adult children, Martin and Evie, must come to terms with the shock of their father’s death. But a sculpture has gone missing from a museum in Palermo, and Noah is a suspect. The police are investigating.
None of it makes any sense. Martin sets off to Palermo in search of answers about his father’s activities, while Evie moves into Noah’s apartment, waiting to learn where her life might take her. Retracing their father’s steps in their own way, neither of his children can see the path ahead.
Gail Jones’s mesmerising new novel tells a story about parents and children, and explores the overlapping patterns that life makes. The Death of Noah Glass is about love and art, about grief and happiness, about memory and the mystery of time.
ABC Radio National, The Book Hub
Australian Book Review
My Bookshop blog
Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Review of Books
‘Told masterfully from the perspectives of three finely drawn characters, The Death of Noah Glass combines an enjoyable escapade involving art theft, mafia conspiracy, romance, and a suspicious death with a literary exploration of grief, identity and the power of the past to damage present lives. Fans of Jones will not be disappointed, and new readers should find much to recommend it.’
‘Jones is one of our greatest writers—for her enormous wisdom and insight as well as the shimmering intensity of her descriptive language.’
‘In all of Gail Jones’s writing, words bump up against images from art and cinema—visual keys to convey what narrative may not.’
‘The Death of Noah Glass is among (Jones’s) finest work and I expect it will be among this year’s outstanding novels.’
‘The plot is one of Jones’s most straightforward, but as always it is the links and echoes, the patterns that she sees in life and the way such patterns are represented and become part of our internal landscape that inform and fascinate, and make her work so rewarding.’
‘The Death of Noah Glass is a superb novel full of sadness and mystery. It further confirms Gail Jones’s reputation as one of our great writers.’
‘…Swooningly lyrical, carrying the reader along in the wake of its beauty.’
‘This polished, pensive novel that swirls so much about, tantalising with implications amid the patterned intricacy of linked scenes, returning symbols and motifs. It’s a book that needs to be read closely…The Death of Noah Glass is engaging. It’s a book about ways of seeing and about the gaps that persist between vision and understanding. And in the end this novel—which is dedicated to the memory of Jones’s father—is also about patrimony as the pattern and measure that fathers leave behind them.’
‘Beautifully lit…Jones’ writing demands that the read slow down in order to enjoy every word. Martin is an artist, but then again so is the author, and she too notices hue, texture and nuance.’
‘This is a novel dominated by rich and vivid descriptions of personal interiors and public exteriors, of thought processes and intense associations wrought by the places Martin and Evie find themselves as they uncover truths.’
‘In poetic prose that calls for slower reading to fully appreciate its metaphoric meaning, the narrative, as the mystery is untangled, explores the effects of grief and loss and the theme of time. You could re-read this book for the pleasure and stimulation of the language alone.’
‘Jones displays a formidable, eclectic knowledge that she distributes among her characters…an intellectually strenuous entertainment concerned with the nature and loss of senses, of filial obligations and their cost, of the vertiginous role of chance. Jones has challenged herself – and her readers – in another rich and accomplished work.’
‘Jones writes with perception on the emotional chaos wrought by grief, and how difficult it can be to operate within relationships when there is so much that will remain unknown.’
‘The Death of Noah Glass is a transportive novel, dreamy and evocative, and full of richly-drawn characters. It’s sure to send first-time readers of Gail Jones on a journey through her extensive back catalogue.’
‘A complex piece of fiction, carefully assembled and exquisitely executed.’
‘From the Renaissance to the contemporary era, from Italy to Australia and back via Japan, Jones demonstrates not a quaint equivalence between the sister arts, but an unruly dynamic of disjunction, rupture, play and appropriation that sets off a force field of narrative and semiotic energies.’
‘An oblique and poetic novel… a vivid, unsettling study of mortality.’
‘A beautifully evoked novel about loss, grief and family.’
‘Gail Jones’s mesmerising prose and intricate structuring made The Death of Noah Glass my top novel-reading experience.’
‘The Death of Noah Glass wraps a richly layered family story in an art theft mystery that travels from Western Australia to Sydney and Sicily.’
‘Weaving together multiple narratives (Noah’s, Martin’s, and Evie’s), the novel sketches a family portrait full of love, loss, and regret.’