"Albion Gidley Singer inhabits the shell of an entirely proper man of the world: husband, father, pillar of the community. But within him are frightened and frightening dark places from which spring fear and loathing of the flesh of females. And finally, the kind of violence that might call itself love.
"It is through the eyes of Albion Gidley Singer that the world is seen and in his voice that the story is told, and it is a voice that never suffers from self doubt. He can never know, as the reader does, that what he sees is horribly wrong and what he thinks about the world around him is distorted by his damaged self.
"Kate Grenville has written a disturbing, shocking and grotesquely funny novel that resonates in the mind with the truth of great writing. Dark Places sets a new benchmark in Australian fiction."
This is Albion Gidley Singer at the pen, a man with a weakness for a good fact. The first fact is always the hardest: you have to begin somewhere, and such is the nature of this intractable universe that the only thing you can start with is yourself. If I am nothing else, 1 am at least a link in the endless chain of proof which stretches back to a time when Albion Gidley Singer cannot even be imagined.
Mirrors show me a tall man with a splendid head, and a mouth that would never weaken. That person in the mirror has been so many solid things. He has always been a gentleman, and in addition he has been a son, a husband, and a father. He has been a customer in shops where long yellow gloves were laid out before him on glass, he has been a drinker on sawdust, and in the hushed leathery air of the best clubs. He has been a man in plus-fours, a man in a wing collar, a man in a nightshirt, a man in a striped bathing-suit. He has even been a praying man, staring at the dust between his knees and looking forward to lunch. He has been all these things with exceptional completeness, and has convinced the world, and himself.
From the MacMillan hardback edition, 1994.
This novel was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 1995.
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Last modified: May 6, 2002.