THE CHOSEN book cover   The Chosen
David Ireland

Cover photograph: Wild Light, Cover design: Julie Rovis

Dustjacket synopsis:
"Now she seems like a musical note which has escaped into the air that is the river of all music. At night he goes into the dark, looks up at distant stars, miserable that knowledge has robbed us of the old certainties. Once we had souls, and souls went 'up there' when we died. Now we have nothing, no souls, no destination, just an arithmetic of meaningless distances.

"An artist is commissioned to weave the portraits of a random selection of townsfolk in Lost River. For this task he must interview each one - fifty-two in all, one for every week of the year - to discern the gestures by which he might portray them. His work becomes an odyssey through hmankind, its social, political, sexual, humorous and spiritual aspects. The chosen few are enlightened, insane, larrikins, fools, psychopaths, mindles smaterialists...people who have caught a glimpse of something strange, perhaps the borders of a world behind the everyday.

"The weaver's subjects are haunted by the death of one of their number, while he in turn is haunted by thoughts of Yarrow, the woman whose absence underscores his existence.

"The Chosen is David Ireland's first novel in ten years and his finest achievement yet - a prodigously profound and witty vision of humanity by one of the great masters of Australian writing."

"Ireland's new novel is a dazzling kaleidoscope of ordinary and extraordinary Australians that again shows his work is at the peak of contemporary Australian writing." - Helen Daniel

First Paragraph:

'Therefore her exile from so much of herslf had to end. She was determined it would. There was a kind of home towards which she was turning. a home of the spirit...'

My book was nearly done. I had the next sentences in my head. I had paused to reflect that all who have once interacted are connected, however tenuously, while memory lasts, and that perhaps when memory hides, events, bloodstreams, and interactions carry their own remembrances.

From the Viking hardback edition, 1997.

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Last modified: December 8, 2004.