Combined Reviews: The Philosopher's Doll by Amanda Lohrey

philosophers_doll.jpg Reviews of The Philosopher's Doll by Amanda Lohrey.

This book has been nominated for the 2006 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

"The Age" describes it as a book that "focuses on a professional couple in their late 30s struggling with the issue of when to have children. Much of the book deals with an intense few weeks in which the wife, Kirsten, has actually become pregnant and is deciding when to tell her husband, Lindsay, while he, completely unaware of this
biological incident, is arranging to buy her a dog in order to temporarily satisfy her procreative yearnings."

As Rachel Slater puts it, the novel "novel poses some big questions. How much free choice do we really have? What does it mean to be human? What do we know about consciousness? These philosophical stalwarts are unravelled alongside the lives of two suburban professionals grappling with their own big questions - questions of potential parenthood, infidelity and desire." But it seems clear that it is not the novel's intention to tie up the loose ends and "the reader is not offered definitive answers to any of the questions raised in the novel, but in addressing the argument - so prevalent in Western culture - that choice equals freedom and therefore happiness, Lohrey provides more than a little food for thought." So it certainly sounds like the author is treating the reader with a great deal of respect, providing no easily digestible answers and allowing the reader to make up their own mind.

Tony Smith, reviewing the book in Australian Book Review is certainly enthusiastic about the result: "Lohrey is so perceptive that there is nothing superfluous in this superbly structured novel. Every event, every word is necessary and there are constant echoes that remind the reader of the complexity of the plot and the sophistication of the author's technique...Many novels display some of the characteristics that encourage readability: consistency of theme, soundness of structure, steadiness of pace, depth of characterisation and elegance of style. In The Philosopher's Doll, Lohrey demonstrates that she has consummate control of all these skills. Lohrey's beautifully balanced, expertly crafted novel is a treat for head and for heart."

Amanda Lohrey was interviewed by Ramona Koval on ABC Radio's Books and Writing program on May 16, 2004.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 20, 2006 12:07 PM.

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