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The Plains

The Plains: Text Classics

Gerald Murnane

  • awardWinner, Patrick White Literary Award, 1999
  • Introduction by Wayne Macauley

    Twenty years ago, when I first arrived on the plains, I kept my eyes open. I looked for anything in the landscape that seemed to hint at some elaborate meaning behind appearances.

    There is no book in Australian literature like The Plains. In the two decades since its first publication, this haunting novel has earned its status as a classic. A nameless young man arrives on the plains and begins to document the strange and rich culture of the plains families. As his story unfolds, the novel becomes, in the words of Murray Bail, ‘a mirage of landscape, memory, love and literature itself’.

    Reviews online

    Why The Plains is Wayne Macauley’s favourite novel, Weekend Australian

    The case for The Plains as the great Austalian novel, The Conversation  

    Robyn Cresswell's staff pick for the Paris Review

    Gerald Murnane
    About the Author

    Gerald Murnane was born in Coburg, a northern suburb of Melbourne, in 1939. He spent some of his childhood in country Victoria before returning to Melbourne in 1949 where he lived for the next sixty years. He has left Victoria only a handful of times and has never been on an aeroplane.

    In 1957 Murnane began training for the Catholic priesthood...

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    Text publication date:
    26 April 2012
    First published:
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    Praise for Gerald Murnane
    andThe Plains

    The Plains has that peculiar singularity that can make literature great.’

    Other editions ofThe Plains