The Voices, The

The Voices, The

Hardback

By (author) Susan Elderkin

List price $26.54

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  • Publisher: FOURTH ESTATE LTD
  • Format: Hardback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 159mm x 240mm 580g
  • Publication date: 2 June 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1841152013
  • ISBN 13: 9781841152011
  • Illustrations note: Reinforced binding Reinforced binding 24

Product description

The new novel from the sparklingly original author of Sunset over Chocolate Mountains. In the remote, blood-red landscape of the Australian bush, thirteen-year-old Billy Saint hears the haunting song of an Aboriginal girl. The song tugs at something deep, something larger and more powerful than himself. She has sung Billy up - and he is destined to love her for ever...In an Alice Springs hospital ten years later, recovering from gruesome wounds of mysterious origin, Billy attempts to explain the voices in his head. But only Cecily, the Aboriginal nurse, will listen. What unravels is a mesmerising account of the relationship between a man, the land he loves, and the spirits of the country, struggling to be heard before it is too late. THE VOICES is an eloquent lament for a disappearing culture, told with extraordinary delicacy and power. It is a novel of seductive beauty set in a timeless landscape, and will not easily be forgotten.

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Author information

Susan Elderkin is the acclaimed author of Sunset over Chocolate Mountains. Born in 1968, she has worked as an ice-cream seller, an English teacher in a Slovakian shoe factory and, for the past five years, as a freelance journalist. She lives in London.

Review quote

Praise for SUNSET OVER CHOCOLATE MOUNTAINS: 'Rich, strange, unclassifiable ... like Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains has an intricate structure, evoking a tenderness and charm that weave magically around its characters. Heartfelt and stylish.' The Times 'This is a bold, captivating debut from an intelligent new voice.' Daily Mail 'Richly imaginative, strange and compelling, this novel contains as many stinging surprises as the desert in which it is set.' Guardian 'It is likely that Susan Elderkin will continue entertaining and moving us. A first-rate writer of literature.' Observer 'Fresh and original.' Company

Editorial reviews

Elderkin, whose debut (the award-winning Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains, 2000) painted a lyric picture of the Arizona desert, now delves into the mysteries of the Australian outback. The story concerns a young man who hears voices that derive either from his schizophrenia or from his special relationship with the Aboriginal spirits that inhabit the landscape. At the start, Billy wakes up in a hospital bed, having attacked an American tourist on a train after being found wandering along the tracks. The doctors assigned to his case consider insanity his defense against assault charges. His Aboriginal nurse Cecily, however, lets him know in subtle ways that she believes other forces caused his wandering and the strange mutilation of his privates (if it is mutilation, not primitive improvement to his manhood). Elderkin intercuts Billy's recovery process with his buried memories of a childhood spent with his distant mother and pitiful father in an isolated community being dragged into the modern world by an unscrupulous developer. She also offers the perspective of forces of nature-like the wind-as if they were actual characters that watch over Billy (unless they're merely voices in this head). In particular, there is the Aboriginal girl-or spirit of a girl-Maisie, who draws the young Billy into her world. Shortly after the boy Billy discovers that his mother is having an affair, he takes Maisie for a joyride in one of his father's cars and runs into a kangaroo. Distraught, he leaves the outback, becomes a miner, and finds himself platonically involved with a young mother of three. But the forces of nature, which Billy perceives as voices, follow him and draw him back to the land, where he undergoes a transformation-or nervous breakdown. If this all sounds confusing, it is. Tottering between spiritual gobbledygook and psychobabble, Elderkin nevertheless does create lush exotic worlds, although an unfortunate undercurrent of polemic weakens the mystery of what has happened to Billy. Lots to chew on, but hard to digest. (Kirkus Reviews)