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Five Bells


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About the Author

Gail Jones is the author of two short-story collections, a critical monograph, and the novels Black Mirror, Sixty Lights, Dreams of Speaking and Sorry.


Jones (Sorry) follows the journeys of four people spending a day at the harbor near the Sydney Opera House. As the characters move individually toward their common destination, they take the reader back in time to expose the forces and events that shaped each of their lives. These four have come to Sydney bearing heavy histories that appear to have predestined their futures. In the span of a day, all will face the harsh truths of the past and reveal their essential natures in the choices they make. Jones infuses the book's scenery with energy and light; she shapes her scenes to create a striking contrast between the bright, dynamic atmosphere of the present and the darker memories of the characters' pasts. Jones's narrative offers insight into both the strength and the fragility of the human spirit. VERDICT With its deliberate pacing and introspective style, this is a book for contemplative readers willing to lose themselves in the characters' journeys between present and past.-Catherine Tingelstad, Pitt Community Coll., Greenville, NC (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Australian novelist Jones follows four characters over the course of a single day in Sydney after they arrive at the "democratic throng" of Sydney Harbor Bridge. Ellie, a country girl enchanted with urban life (and, like many tourists, the famous Opera House building), has come to meet James, her first lover and spiritual inverse; he's morose and medicated where she is naive and ebullient. They share space in the city and in the story with two others: Pei Xing, a refugee from Mao's cultural revolution who was imprisoned while her intellectual parents suffered arrest and execution and now relishes the city's vibrant beauty; and Catherine, an Irish woman haunted by her adored brother's untimely death. Jones tracks them through Sydney, separate yet connected, wrapped in their remembrances of things past, their guilt and regret, as the world swirls around them. With a tight focus and poetic language that recalls Virginia Woolf, Jones (Sorry) paints the connections that bind us, the power of place, and the random encounters that can change the course of our lives. An elegant literary meditation on time and chance. Agent: The Melanie Jackson Agency. (Feb. 28) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

"Over the past decade Gail Jones has established herself as a significant presence in contemporary Australian fiction. Thoughtful, intelligent, and intensely lyrical...a novel of unmistakable contemporary relevance."---"The Guardian" (London) "An intense...poetic tale."---"Financial Times" (London) ""Five Bells" is a brilliant work, both explicitly Australian and insistently cosmopolitan...[and] establishes Gail Jones as one of Australia's finest authors....In the midst of pandemonium, traffic, and tourist hordes gazing at icons, Jones gives us individuals who are achingly alive, filled with apprehensions of beauty, love, and mortality."---"The Australian ""Jones's writing has the intensity of a dream...combining tension with lyricism."---"The Times" (London) "A story peopled by real characters, memorably related in delicate, ornate prose."---"The Independent" (London) "A novel that reaches beyond the glittering surface of Sydney to capture the rippling patterns of a wider human history with singular beauty and power."---"The Canberra Times (Australia) "

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