3.82 (80 ratings by Goodreads)
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I search for the last incoming call and store the number under one word, 'sister'. I should have used her name but it is all I can think of. Sister. My sister just called me and I spoke to her. I imagine the words as if they were written in a book- twenty-three years later my sister called. Bec Reich is recovering from surgery when Emily phones, so naturally Bec thinks she is hallucinating. Emily, famous worldwide for her paintings and also for her madness, lives in Beijing - but that's not why they haven't spoken for so long. Now she wants Bec to come and see her. Which would mean revisiting the sinister games and shared delusions, the terrible damage of their strange, locked-in childhood. For Bec, fascinated and repelled by her impossible sister, it may be worth the risk. Maybe. 'Kneen has a rare gift for constructing the most exquisite architectures of narrative and meaning from simple and elegant prose.' John Birminghamshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 232 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 317.51g
  • Text Publishing Co
  • Text Classics
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • English
  • 1922079871
  • 9781922079879
  • 593,433

About Krissy Kneen

Krissy Kneen is the award-winning author of the memoir Affection (Text Publishing Australia 2009 and Seal Press USA 2010) which was shortlisted for the Qld Premier's Literary Award in the non-fiction category, and the 2010 ABIA awards for Biography, Triptych- An Erotic Adventure (Text 2011) and the literary fiction novel Steeplechase (Text 2013). In 2014 she won the prestigious Thomas Shapcott award for poetry for her collection, Eating My Grandmother. Her novel Holly's Incredible Adventures in the Sex Machine will also be published by Text in 2015. She has written and directed short films and broadcast documentaries for SBS and ABC television and has had short stories published in literary journals, books and magazines including Griffith Review, Kill Your Darlings,, The Big Issue, Best Women's Erotica 2014, Women of Letters and The Lifted more

Review quote

`Kneen has a rare gift for constructing the most exquisite architectures of narrative and meaning from simple and elegant prose.' -- John Birmingham 'Steeplechase is a strange and intricate work that, like any excellent work of art, creates its own tight world whose engine is anxiety and suppression. Kneen has an unvarnished and natural voice that belies the immense sophistication framing the restrained texture of the emotion...Kneen has created a world of Australian gothic, which has the same reach and luminous stillness as that of her fellow Queenslander Andrew McGahan's impressive 2004 prize-winning The White Earth.' * Age / Sydney Morning Herald * 'The narrative framework is carefully constructed; this is a text with an architectural sensibility of a hall of mirrors. The principal themes of artistic genius, madness, and self-realisation are beautifully conveyed through metaphors of restoration and forgery...Steeplechase is understated and potent. Kneen's restrained prose is elegant in its simplicity. Despite the highly emotive subject matter, it never becomes overblown or hysterical. The premise behind steeplechasing is that the obstacles make the horse demonstrate agility, power, intelligence, and bravery.' * Australian Book Review * 'Krissy's books are filled with passionate and lush language.' * Tasmanian Times * 'The voice is strong, the writing vivid, the prose disarmingly frank, uncluttered and easily propels the reader along...Conversational exchanges are convincing, creating high-resolution snapshots of scene and people. Verdict: Lyrical, persuasive and intriguing.' * Courier Mail * 'A densely plotted and compelling tale...Kneen is adept at defusing tension with scenes of Beijing life and with the homely affection of Bec's reluctant affair, but as the novel nears its revelatory and satisfying climax she cuts more and more rapidly and with absolutely assurance between past and present, never losing the reader but ramping up tension and expectation until the book is impossible to put down....Kneen's first real fiction is an accomplished work that will not easily be forgotten.' * Adelaide Advertiser * 'This is a text steeped in the reactions of the body. It is this corporeality, a style honed from earlier works, that makes Kneen's prose so remarkable, and attempts to categorise her writings into distinct genres so meaningless...With her most recent work [Kneen] has cemented her place as an author to be read because of the promise, sensual or otherwise, signified by her name on the spine.' * Weekend Australian * 'Krissy Kneen's deceptively simple prose careens towards a startling and horrifying denouement; her talent for strikingly vibrant imagery shines...Steeplechase is a departure for Kneen, who is best known for her erotic writing. This novel will appeal to a broader audience, while her fans will continue to relish Kneen's vivid imagery and fearless prose.' * Australian Bookseller & Publisher * `Steeplechase is both disturbing and mesmerising. This is writing that displays incredible emotional depth. Krissy Kneen is an author who writes with generosity and truth.' -- Favel Parrettshow more

Rating details

80 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 29% (23)
4 38% (30)
3 22% (18)
2 10% (8)
1 1% (1)

Our customer reviews

Steeplechase is the third book by Australian author, Krissy Kneen, and her first non-erotic novel. At age 40, art teacher Bec Reich seems to be living somewhat in the shadow of her (in)famous older sister, Emily Reich, who is described as "one of the brave new voices on the Australian Art Scene". When she receives a call from Emily after a hiatus of twenty-three years, she is undecided if she wants to take up her sister's offer to attend her latest show in Beijing. Kneen alternates between Bec's present day life and her strange, repressed adolescence full of games and delusions, to craft a compelling tale with a brilliant climax. Kneen's descriptions skilfully evoke small town Queensland and the Beijing summer, her characters are have depth and spirit and her dialogue is realistic. This thought-provoking tale touches on obsession, adulation, artistic genius, student-teacher affairs, guilt, inferiority, love and mental illness. Kneen treats the reader to some beautiful prose: "a gift that shrugs off its festive wrapping only to disappoint" and "She laughs and steps up on the pedals and rings her bell as she launches herself out into the nightmare of oncoming bicycles. She is larger now, but still just as graceful. I follow at a halting pace, dodging, stopping, pulling over onto the footpath. It is easy enough to keep track of my sister. She is a gorgeous flash of blue shining against a drab background of shapeless cotton frocks and dirty T-shirts. She is other-worldly and exciting and for a moment I am overwhelmed with pride." This is a hypnotic, powerful, stirring tale: Kneen is a writer to look out more
by Marianne Vincent
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