Unread, now read book 8 – The Pages, Murray Bail


Moving between a sheep station in rural NSW, Sydney and various European cities, the story traces Wesley Anthill’s determination to become a philosopher, the siblings that support his dream, his trip to Europe, the events that drive him back home and his life back on the sheep station. After Wesley’s death, Erica, a philosopher is employed the Anthill estate to go through all of his writings and papers and to establish if Wesley really was a philosopher of merit and therefore whether his papers should be published. Accompanying her is a friend from Sydney, Sophie, a psychologist.

I could have done without Sophie. Bail uses her as a motif, sets her psychological musings against Erica’s philosophical ideals but her characterization is very clichéd and she is given very silly things to say. And the subplot involving her father is a bit obvious. If the intention is to compare and contrast the approaches of philosophy and psychology then at the very least Bail could have provided ‘combatants’ of equal stature. However, I can forgive him this for his lyrical descriptions of the Australian landscape (which is what I loved most about another novel of his, Eucalypus, a must-read!!).

A meditation on love, the complicated dance between man and woman that is the start of any relationship, and the difficulties of thought itself, The Pages is a beautiful, tightly-written novel that stays with you long after you have finished reading.


About Nicola

I am a proud book nerd who also has the travel bug bad; I LOVE recommending books to others (even when they aren't that interested) and spend way too much time looking at amusing cat photos on the internet.
This entry was posted in Australian fiction, book reviews, books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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