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Description - Sorry by Gail Jones

This is a story that can only be told in a whisper...In the remote outback of Western Australia, English anthropologist Nicholas Keene and his wife Stella raise a curious child, Perdita. Her childhood is far from ordinary; a shack in the wilderness, with a distant father burying himself in books and an unstable mother whose knowledge of Shakespeare forms the backbone of the girl's limited education. Emotionally adrift, Perdita develops a friendship with an Aboriginal girl, Mary, with whom she will share a very special bond. She appears content with her unusual family life in this remote corner of the globe until Nicholas Keane is discovered murdered...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099507093
ISBN-10: 0099507099
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 130mm x 15mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 6-Mar-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Sorry by Gail Jones

US Kirkus Review » A story of sacrifice, silence and forgiveness from Jones (Dreams of Speaking, 2006, etc.).Perdita Keene is a little girl growing up in the Australian bush in the late 1930s. Her parents are English. Her father is an anthropologist, but his studies of Australia's native people are never going to produce bold, revelatory theories about primitive humans, and he is never going to return to Oxford as a renowned scholar. Her mother had no idea, when she got married, that her husband would take her to the remote ends of the world. Her only consolation is Shakespeare. He is her religion, and she knows whole plays and sonnets by heart. The Keene marriage is a loveless one, and they make no effort to shield their daughter from the knowledge that she was a mistake. The only kindness Perdita has ever known is that of Aboriginal caretakers, and her only friends are misfits. Billy is deaf and mute - generally considered to be an idiot - and Mary is a native and an orphan. The fulcrum around which this novel revolves is the murder of Perdita's father. The narrative returns to it again and again, each time revealing new information. When Perdita finally understands what really happened, when she struggles to find a proper response to her new and horrible knowing, the story resolves into an allegory about Australia, about the lopsided and lamentable relationship between white settlers and natives. Allegory is not, of course, a form known for its rich character development, and readers seeking narrative intimacy will be disappointed. Jones has a cool, ornate style. She always chooses the philosophical over the mawkish, the universal over the particular. This keeps her tale of neglect, abuse and murder from descending into melodrama, but it also keeps the reader at a distance. Jones's rhetorical flourishes are often arresting, but her psychological insights tend toward the trite.Poignant, but unsatisfying. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Gail Jones

Gail Jones teaches literature, cinema and cultural studies at the University of Western Australia. She is the author of Sixty Lights which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Dreams of Speaking and Sorry, both of which were longlisted for the Orange Prize, and Five Bells.

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