DANCING ON CORAL book cover   Dancing on Coral
Glenda Adams

Cover illustration by Darian Causby

"A book of enormous variety...a comic epic and sharp satire...a voyage of liberation." - Elizabeth Jolley
"A revelation of the bizarre...an ebullient comedy...wonderfully satisfying and enriching." - Kate Grenville
"There is no other Australian novelist writing at present with such a finely judged mixture of zany wit and unforced wisdom, with such a control of character and material, such urbanity and exuberance...Dancing on Coral is witty, wry and extraordinarily evocative of the mental muddles of the 1960s. The book's undeniable brilliance stems from a number of things - the sophistication of its approach combined with the directness of its telling; the strength and awfulness of its characters; the sheer obliqueness of angle between understanding and actions; the continual teasing references to island, to birds, to boxes and to bodies adrift on coral or on ice..." - Barbara Jefferis, The Australian
"Dancing on Coral is a deeply political novel...a very funny one...intricate, subtle, resonant, comic...This is a novel to be savoured like a fine, mature, complex wine." - Don Anderson, Times on Sunday
"...wickedly funny. The intellectual conversations, dialogues, diatribes...are excellent parody...The pleasures of this book are in the multiplicity and complexity of its episodes..." - Marion Halligan, The Canberra Times
"This is a lovely book - supple and reflexive...Nothing here is wasted - references recur and build on each other, ideas interlock and enrich, satire slices cleanly to the bone." - Katharine England, The Advertiser
"Glenda Adams has written a wicked and witty novel." - Diane Johnson, The Sydney Morning Herald

First Paragraph

The rooster was crowing, at two in the afternoon, and the cicadas had started up again after their lunchtime quiet.

"It's a case of too much noise," said Henry Watter, the father of Lark. "Far too much noise." He was in the basement working on his project. He thrust the rooster in the small wooden crate that rested under the gum tree within the circle of chicken wire that formed its coop and hammered it shut, the sun glinting on the hammerhead and on the lenses of his metal-rimmed glasses. The Bakers' dog next door started barking. The rooster continued crowing. From farther off came the buzz of a lawnmower.

Lark watched the hammering, then went back to looking through the old seventy-eights and the shetet music stacked near the pianola -- Caruso singing "Vesti la giubba," a silly song called "I Lift Up My finger and I Say Tweet, Tweet," and polonaises and rhapsodies played by Ignaz Friedman. She had already save a hundred pounds, almost enough for a one-way passage to somewhere, Singapore or Ceylon perhaps, and she had arranged for an interview with Qantas to be an air hostess, after her exams. That was one way to get away.

From the Sirius paperback edition, 1988.

This novel won the 1987 Miles Franklin Award, and the 1987 NSW Premier's Award.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2001-07 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: June 18, 2007.