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Description - The Conversations at Curlow Creek by David Malouf

The year is 1827, and in a remote hut on the high plains of New South Wales, two strangers spend the night in talk. One, Carney, an illiterate Irishman, ex-convict and bushranger, is to be hanged at dawn. The other, Adair, also Irish, is an officer of the police who has been sent to supervise the hanging. As the night wears on, the two discover unexpected connections between their lives, and learn new truths. Outside the hut, Adair's troopers sit uneasily, reflecting on their own pasts and futures, waiting for the morning to come. With ironic humour and in prose of starkly evocative power, the novel moves between Australia and Ireland to explore questions of nature and justice, reason and un-reason, the workings of fate, and the small measure of freedom a man may claim in the face of death.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099744016
ISBN-10: 0099744015
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 130mm x 16mm)
Pages: 272
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 5-Jun-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Conversations at Curlow Creek by David Malouf

UK Kirkus Review » The author's strong narrative style drives this story of the entwined fates of an illiterate convict and the police officer sent to supervise his hanging in 19th-century New South Wales. The forces of hazard and chance are examined in finely wrought prose, and the locations in Australia and Ireland are memorably evoked. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » An audacious and deeply moving meditation in fictional form on such essential matters as freedom and identity, explored in a series of conversations and recollections. Most of the conversations take place between two men, one a career soldier sent to oversee an execution, the other the stoic outlaw about to be hanged. Malouf, an Australian writer, has, over the course of eight previous novels (including Remembering Babylon, 1993, and The Great World, 1991) developed a supple, precise prose style and a great talent for revealing the philosophical underpinnings of dramatic events. This new work, set in Australia in 1827, in the dusty outback of New South Wales, once again rings some startling changes on a grim situation. Carney, the outlaw, is the only one of a group of "bushrangers" to be taken alive. An Irishman and ex-convict, he grudgingly begins to talk about his hard, harassed life as the soldier, Michael Adair, questions him about the gang. Adair, also Irish, is gradually moved to a recognition of Carney's fierce, if inchoate, devotion to freedom, and stirred to reflect on the ways in which need and fear can shape our lives. Adair, orphaned as an infant, raised by a friend of his mother's on a great estate, nurses sharp guilts and regrets about his own past. As Adair and Carney spend the long night before his execution talking, sharing confidences, the tough young soldiers accompanying Adair tell a variety of tales, some profane, some troubling, about their own lives. The execution goes off as planned, but Adair, a deeply meditative man, and a convincingly good one, is profoundly altered by the event. Using material that might have been merely gaudy or melodramatic in less skilled hands, Malouf has shaped a terse, intelligent, resonant meditation on life and loss, again demonstrating that he's one of the brightest and most original of contemporary novelists. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - David Malouf

David Malouf is the internationally acclaimed author of novels including The Great World (winner of the Commonwealth Writers' prize and the Prix Femina Etranger), Remembering Babylon (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), An Imaginary Life and his autobiographical classic 12 Edmondstone Street. His Collected Stories won the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Award, and his recent story collections are the critically-acclaimed Dream Stuff and Every Move You Make. In 2008 Malouf was the Scottish Arts' Council Muriel Spark International Fellow. Born in 1934 in Brisbane, where he was brought up, he lives in Sydney.

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