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Introduction by Bernadette Brennan
Behind the uneasy trees rose the hills, and beyond them again the country of the lost, huge wilderness between this last haunt of civilization and the unpeopled sea.
Exhausted and losing faith, an Anglican minister flees his mission in Australia’s northwest for the vast emptiness of the outback. In the soul country of the desert the old man searches for the islands of the Aboriginal dead, reflecting on past transgressions and on his life’s work. A Lear-like tale of madness and destruction, published when Randolph Stow was only twenty-two, To the Islands is compelling and wise—a poetic masterpiece.
‘To the Islands is a deeply moving and compassionate novel whose message and wisdom is still important today, which is why it deserves to be recognised as an important work of Australian literature.’
‘To the Islands is a masterpiece.’
‘Powerful and convincing…An Australian classic.’
‘It is a rare pleasure for those of us who are already fans to have these works at our disposal…[Stow was] the most talented and celebrated Australian author of the post-White generation.’
‘It should be taken as no commentary on contemporary Oz Lit that I choose Text’s fistful of Randolph Stow reissues for my local favourite(s) during 2015. Their appearance reminds us that a gentle, wise, wounded, and immensely talented poet in prose once lived among us.‘