Milk and Honey
"A self-absorbed young musician comes as a pupil-boarder to the house of an 'old European' family and gradually his life is taken over and consumed. But this, seemingly, by dark, mysterious forces within as much as outside himself.
"Milk and Honey is a haunting new novel showing this skilled and sensitive writer at her best. While much of what we have come to expect and admire in Elizabeth Jolley's work is powerfully present - vivid and diverse characters, pathos, humour and acute perceptions of people and their situations - this novel is in many ways quite unlike anything the author has previously written. It is a work of gothid proportions, an astonishing tapestry of character and incident that surprises while never failing to convince.
"Elizabeth Jolley continues to take great risks in her work, extending her range and readership at the same time. Milk and Honey consolidates her reputation as a major Australian writer, it is an exciting work of remarkable insight that expands the imaginative dimensions of our world."
"a prose poet...she celebrates life in the quiet strength of her writing." - Graham Burns, The Age
"One of the best (Australian writers)...her view of the world is grim, her style effortlessly comic and her characters battily original." - Elizabeth Ward, Washington Post
"one of Australia's leading contemporary writers of ficton." - Laurie Clancy, Australian Book Review
A wind blew through Europe. It blew stronger and ever stronger. It swept up the soot and the dirt, the horse manure, the brickdust and the thistledown.
Countless whirlwinds, spiralling and gathering, carried all that which was not fixed and secure upwards into the sky. And in this twisting movement cones were formed which, because of the intensity of the whirlwind, grew more and more compact as they moved higher and higher into the winds above the firmament.
The clotted debris travelled far away into another hemisphere and, forgetting the winds, sank down to earth. Most of the cones, as they reached the earth, fell apart and mixed with the dust of the new place.
Some did not do this.
Even as they fell they pressed closer and closer into themselves as if this was their only means of surviving.
In the new land they were scattered like rocks, not mixing with the soil but, from time to time, settling on the fragments of other such cones from which they drew sustenance in order to preserve themselves and remain unchanged for as long as possible.
From the Fremantle Arts Centre Press paperback edition, 1984.
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Last modified: January 12, 2002.