"A novelist who lives up in a tree; a child who likes to paint dead bodies; a granny who lives in a kennel and bites...these are some of charcaters of this extraordinary novel set in a dilapidated stone mansion in Sydney. Bizarre, bitingly satirical, richly ambiguous, it is an image of the modern world which the author sees as 'a madhouse without walls'."
A man was in the grounds of Merry Lands. Patiently talking to a dog, a male basset, caressing its large head. A half brick loosely held in the left hand.
"Casanova. Cas-a-no-va. Casanova. It's your name, you stupid bastard." Trying to teach the dog his name. The dog looked at him, its tongue lolling like an idiot's. The teacher had a stethoscope round his neck. "Now try mine. O'Grady. O-Grady. O-Gra-dy. Say it, you stinking idiot." And raised the half brick.
Suddenly he looked up at me and said in perfectly sane and level tones, "Your room's ready."
From the Penguin paperback edition, 1980.
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Last modified: September 6, 2001.