But the galaxy soon presents him with a string of odd, entertaining, and dangerous passengers, who become companions of every sort and stripe. The Plover is the story of their adventures and misadventures in the immense blue country one of their company calls Pacifica. Hounded by a mysterious enemy, reluctantly acquiring one new resident after another, Declan O Donnell's lonely boat is eventually crammed with humor, argument, tension, and a resident herring gull.
Brian Doyle's The Plover is a sea novel, a maritime adventure, the story of a cold man melting, a compendium of small miracles, an elegy to Edmund Burke, a watery quest, a battle at sea---and a rapturous, heartfelt celebration of life's surprising paths, planned and unplanned.
A decrepit warship sails on the last stretch of its voyage to Sydney Cove. It has been blown off course and battered by wind, storm and ice. Little but rope holds the disintegrating hull together. And after a risky operation to reset its foremast, an unseen fire begins to smoulder below decks.
The Ibis, loaded to its gunwales with a cargo of indentured servants, is in the grip of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal; among the dozens flailing for survival are Neel, the pampered raja who has been convicted of embezzlement; Paulette, the French orphan masquerading as a deck-hand; and Deeti, the widowed poppy grower fleeing her homeland with her lover, Kalua.
The storm also threatens the clipper ship Anahita, groaning with the largest consignment of opium ever to leave India for Canton. And the Redruth, a nursery ship, carries Frederick "Fitcher" Penrose, a horticulturist determined to track down the priceless treasures of China that are hidden in plain sight: its plants that have the power to heal, or beautify, or intoxicate. All will converge in Canton's Fanqui-town, or Foreign Enclave: a tumultuous world unto itself where civilizations clash and sometimes fuse. It is a powder keg awaiting a spark to ignite the Opium Wars.
Spectacular coincidences, startling reversals of fortune, and tender love stories abound. But this is much more than an irresistible page-turner. The blind quest for money, the primacy of the drug trade, the concealment of base impulses behind the rhetoric of freedom: in River of Smoke the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries converge, and the result is a consuming historical novel with powerful contemporary resonance. Critics praised Sea of Poppies for its vibrant storytelling, antic humor, and rich narrative scope; now Amitav Ghosh continues the epic that has charmed and compelled readers all over the globe.
In Certain Circles is the long-lost final novel by the internationally acclaimed author of The Watch Tower.
Zoe Howard is seventeen when her brother, Russell, introduces her to Stephen Quayle. Aloof and harsh, Stephen is unlike anyone she has ever met, a weird, irascible character out of some dense Russian novel. His sister, Anna, is shy and thoughtful, a little orphan.
Zoe and Russell, Stephen and Anna: they may come from different social worlds but all four will spend their lives moving in and out of each other's shadow.
Set amid the lush gardens and grand stone houses that line the north side of Sydney Harbour, In Certain Circles is an intense psychological drama about family and love, tyranny and freedom.Elizabeth Harrower was born in Sydney in 1928. Her first novel, Down in the City, was published in 1957, followed by The Long Prospect a year later. In 1960 she published The Catherine Wheel, the story of an Australian law student in London. The Watch Tower appeared in 1966. She is without doubt among the most important writers of the postwar period in Australia.
'In Certain Circles [is] a pin-sharp psychological drama about two pairs of siblings, set on the shores of Sydney Harbour. Harrower's searing, spare prose is breathtaking, as is her depiction of dashed promise and the gulf between the sexes.' Di Speirs, BBC Radio Books Editor
'Harrower was right about In Certain Circles being well written, but surely wrong to take its superb style for granted, as if mere literary muscle memory. Like the rest of her work, the novel is severely achieved: the coolly exact prose cannot be distinguished from the ashen exhaustion of its tragic fires...The book belongs with her best work, with The Watch Tower and The Long Prospect...[It] is more explicit than Harrower's earlier work about ideological tensions between men and women. It is also broader in scope and not as angry - wiser and less hopeless.' James Wood, New Yorker
'Harrower can pierce your heart.' Michael Dirda, Washington Post
'Harrower evokes the waste and futility of a decadent class with all the bite and poignancy of F Scott Fitzgerald.' Eimear McBride, New Statesman
'A scandalously overlooked writer.' Michelle de Kretser
'She is brilliant on power, isolation and class.' Ramona Koval, Australian
'In Certain Circles is subtle yet wounding, and very much alive.' Guardian Australia
'Reading In Certain Circles gave me the thrill that only comes from the work of a major novelist.' The Conversation
'Harrower's sparse prose is best read with careful concentration; it's easy to miss a brilliant observation or an original turn of phrase... An Australian novelist of extraordinary talent.' Readings
'Her insights into the nature of love, the role of women and the torsions of power in even the most ordinary relationship are bitter and sometimes cruel, wielded in the way that acute honesty may be, like a whip. Yet they are always delivered via the honeyed dipper of her prose.' Geordie Williamson, Monthly
'A coup...weirdly thrilling line by line...[its] dense and adult conversation crackles with a sense of moral urgency.' Delia Falconer, Australian
‘Harrower’s lost novel seems like a revelation, an insight into an Australian writer who is world-class and it is thrilling to discover her.’ M/C Reviews
‘Her portrait of two north shore Sydney families stands without stoop or shrug in a tradition of genius that includes Jane Austen, Henry James and Shirley Hazard...I felt like I was looking, really looking at life, in a way that Iris Murdoch might call moral.’ Sydney Morning Herald
This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of a life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.