BOOK ONE 1 Death of the Father 2 Only Children 3 The Lotus and the Phoenix 4 The Winter Visitor 5 No Ordinary Child 6 Portraits 7 The Mother: Homecoming, Men, The Campaign, Signs 8 An Interlude in the Garden 9 A Memoir of Displacement BOOK TWO 10 The Entrance to the Other-World 11 Reflections From the Gazebo: Thirty-Four Days, War, Present Reality, The Gift of Death, Victoria, Into Regions of Uncertainty 12 The Lovers 13The Little Red Doorway
An enthralling journey into the ancestral dreams and present dilemmas of a rich cast of characters.
Alex Miller has twice won the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia's premier literary prize; the first occasion in 1993 for The Ancestor Game, and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country. He is also an overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, for The Ancestor Game, in 1993. British by birth, he now lives in Victoria.
While noble in ambition and geographically broad in scope, Miller's attempt to unite the spiritual destinies of three disparate characters across a variety of international settings is marred by a less than fluid narrative and confusingly similar character voices. The players include Lang Tzu, the son of a Chinese landowner, who collaborates with the Japanese when they invade the mainland; August Spiess, the family doctor who delivered him; Speiss's artist daughter Gertrude; and Steven Muir, an Australian whose narrative overview is intended to integrate the various parts and pieces of the nomadic plot. Most of the story takes place in mainland China in the 1930s and concerns the decision of several characters to emigrate to Australia following the tumultuous collapse of the feudal mandarin system. Miller's third novel (winner of last year's Miles Franklin Award for Fiction in Australia) will reward those patient readers with a bent for the more obscure spiritual fiction by such writers as Hesse, Goethe and Mann with many eloquent passages about the links between art, identity and sense of place. (Aug.)
A wonderful novel of stunning intricacy and great beauty. -- Michael Ondaatje Extraordinary fictional portraits of China and Australia. * New York Times Book Review *