Gail Jones’ latest novel deals with the themes of art, family and identity in a way which will be familiar to readers who have enjoyed her previous books like Five Bells and Sorry. Found floating in his swimming pool shortly after returning from Italy, art historian Noah Glass is implicated in the theft of a sculpture from Palermo. His adult children, Martin and Evie, try to make sense of who their father was and how he could be involved, while each grieving in their particular ways. Martin searches in Sicily, compiling material for a series of artworks, while Evie moves into her father’s apartment and re-establishes her ties to Sydney. The settings of the story are vivid, moving in sliding planes from the high noon of Sydney’s sparkle to Palermo’s shadowy melancholy, past and present. The three characters of Noah and his children are each alive and distinct, and one of my favourite aspects of this book is the tender relationship between brother and sister, and how Noah’s research into Piero della Francesca meant that art history fragments were sprinkled throughout. A good book for those who enjoyed The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, or The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Romantic, unsettling, and hopeful.
Text Publishing 2018