FORTY-SEVENTEEN book cover Forty-Seventeen 1988
Cover illustration by Helen Semmler

Dustjacket synopsis:
"What could he tell her now, now that he was forty and she was no longer seventeen?.

"He is a failed writer turned diplomat, an anarchist learning the value of discipline. He moves in a world which takes him from the Australian wilderness to the conference rooms of Vienna and Geneva; from the whore-house to warzone he feels the pull of the genetic spiral of his ancestry. At the sharp axis of his mid-life he scans the memorabilia of his feelings in the hope of giving answers..

"His story is told with characteristic Moorhouse style - candid, wryly insightful and morbidly comic - and, in this resonant and acclaimed book achieves a new virtuosity."

"...a work of nerve and style." - Angelo Loukakis, Australian
"...Moorhouse at his best", - Susan McKernan, Bulletin
"Moorhouse's discontinuous narrative reaches new heights with its subtle and forceful, quietly insistent style." - Michael Dargaville, Mercury

First Paragraph:

The American poet's visit. After lunch over coffee and stregas at Sandro's the poets showed their pens. Two of the poets had Lamys, another a pen from the New York Museum of Modern Art which looked like a scapel. A fifth said he thought he'd 'get a Lamy'.

They handled each other's pens, writing their favourite line from Yeats or Eliot or whoever. 'Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world', one wrote. He had not seen poets at this before.

He then made a reluctant presentation of a book of Australian stories to visiting American poet Philip Levine, for whom the lunch had been organised. He said the book contained the story The American Poet's Visit and that he had been induced to present it by his friends as a 'joke Australien'.

From the Macmillan paperback edition, 1988.

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

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Last modified: April 22, 2001.