The Vintage and the Gleaning

The Vintage and the Gleaning

3.38 (56 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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The Vintage and the Gleaning is set in a winemaking town in the north-east of Victoria, close to the Murray River. Smithy is a retired shearer turned vineyard worker who has recently been forced to give up drinking after a lifetime of alcoholism. In his new sobriety he is contemplating the world in which he lives and the man he has been and become with a new understanding. Assaulted by long forgotten memories, Smithy is forced to take stock of his own past. Overwhelmed with feelings of regret, guilt, loss and nostalgia for the past, Smithy is trapped in a blind search for meaning as he realises that he cannot undo the repercussions of his wasted life. He is a desperate and lonely old man seeking beauty in an ugly world. Living in the same town is Charlotte, a young woman in a dangerous relationship, whose misfortunes have led her into an uneasy friendship with Smithy. It is in his confused and ultimately futile attempts to help Charlotte that he seeks redemption.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 154 x 233 x 20mm | 352g
  • The Text Publishing Company
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • English
  • 1921656506
  • 9781921656507
  • 1,824,611

Review quote

`This terrific Australian first novel is set in a working world. Smithy is an old man on his last legs, labouring in a vineyard. He notices the beauty of the land around him. He notices and observes the people around him and is haunted by the sudden clarity of his past. He steps in to help Charlotte, a desperate young woman, and she gives a little purpose to his life. Chambers writes very powerfully about the sadness of memory.' * The Times * `Chamber's understated account of a retired sheep shearer in a small Australian town deserves a wide readership...The rhythms of this life, the work, the terse banter among the men, and the relentless desperation...are economically conveyed...and the descriptions of ghost gums, the malignancy of circling crows and the omnipresent bleached, exhausted landscape are superb.' * Guardian * `a small gem of a book. The content is secondary to the style which is simple, pared down and precise. However this does give the novel a slight feeling of airlessness as you tiptoe through pages of beautiful prose, nodding in admiration at lovingly rendered descriptions.' * Time Out UK * 'one of the best evocations I've read of both the hard beauty of Australia's warm wine landscapes and the hard urgency of Australian male drinking culture.' * Australian Magazine * 'A beautiful, harrowing novel.' * Australian * 'Without a doubt the most distinguished first novel by an Australian
writer I have read for a long turns harsh and lyrical, satiric
and compassionate, and ultimately tragic.' * Sydney Morning Herald * 'Beautifully written and sketching the Australian landscape and weather
conditions with authenticity and insight, there's a mood of nihilism as
in Albert Camus' The Outsider, stirred with the descriptive prose of Tim
Winton in Dirt Music...a rewarding read.' * Courier Mail * 'a beautiful, harrowing novel about lives wasted and awry.' * Australian Literary Review * '[The Vintage and the Gleaning] impress[es] with a visceral appreciation for the routines of work...the true voice of Chambers' resonantly Faulknerian saga
comes through the minutely detailed, deeply authentic evocation of work
life among the vines, in the sharing shed and in a plethora of country
pubs.' * Adelaide Advertiser * 'The novel's lengthy passages of dialogue instill the book with a sharp playfulness; Chambers could have a future not only as a novelist but also as a dramatist.' * Weekend Australian * 'the gentle title belies the tough beauty of Chambers' prose. This novel
is written with sinewy strength. It creates its characters with small
but powerful gestures. They are gloriously understated. The Vintage and
the Gleaning speaks quietly to powerful effect. It is a book whose
silences are golden. It is both perceptive and compassionate. It
understands the hard stuff and embraces hard people.' * Age * 'There's a lyricism in the language and a depth to the emotions laid
bare here that's utterly irresistible. Add to that a genuine and honest
depiction of Australian working men and what you have is quite a
remarkable novel...The Vintage and the Gleaning is an impressive novel,
one which many seasoned writers would be proud to call their own. That
it comes from a first-time novelist is astounding.' * Canberra Times * `This is one of the most irresistible novels I've read in a long time. The writing is powerful, challenging and utterly authentic. I feel as if I've been waiting for years to read this strangely beguiling novel.' -- Alex Miller
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About Jeremy Chambers

Jeremy Chambers' first novel, The Vintage and the Gleaning, was shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel Literary Award and the Colin Roderick Award and longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Quebec Booksellers' Award. His short fiction has been published in Griffith REVIEW, Higher Arc, Review of Australian Fiction and The White Review. His second novel, Suburbia, is due to be published in October 2017.
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Rating details

56 ratings
3.38 out of 5 stars
5 11% (6)
4 29% (16)
3 48% (27)
2 12% (7)
1 0% (0)
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