Day 10: Moving Among Strangers
On the tenth day of Christmas, my literary love bought for me…
Gabrielle Carey’s Moving Among Strangers!
Gabrielle Carey’s family memoir Moving Among Strangers: Randolph Stow and my family is a celebration of one of Australia’s most enigmatic and visionary writers, and a tale of two literary lives defined by storytelling and secrets. It was awarded the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-fiction.
Is this your perfect Christmas gift?
The 2014 Stella Prize judges said of Moving Among Strangers:
The late Australian novelist and poet Randolph Stow, generally regarded as one of the country’s most important novelists, left Australia in 1966 and lived out the rest of his life in rural England. In this unusual and reflective book, Gabrielle Carey explores her personal connection with Stow – his long-standing friendship with her mother – and her own growing fascination with the novelist and his work. It is an intriguing generic hybrid, partly intelligent memoir and partly insightful cultural history, showing the mixed reaction from Australian critics and readers to Stow’s work and the effect it had on his life and writing.
This is a meditative book moving in widening circles of exploration rather than a story driven by events, but the reader feels a powerful pull to keep on reading a book that is, in its quiet way, so alluring and seductive. While the subject matter is engaging in itself, focusing on Stow’s own singular nature and moving across a wide range of topics from the Australian materialism and fear of metaphysics prevalent in mid-twentieth-century cultural life to the nature of personal friendship and the way it is expressed in letters, Carey’s own thoughtful, gentle, questioning voice is a major part of the book’s appeal.
Links and Media
- Listen to Gabrielle discuss her book on ABC Radio National.
- Read Bernadette Brennan’s review for the Sydney Review of Books.
- Read Stella Clarke’s review for The Australian.
- Read an interview with Gabrielle on the Readings website.