Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Peter Temple's new book ...

... is under embargo until September 28, so although I have an advance copy I'm really not supposed to talk about it. It's called Truth and it's a sequel to The Broken Shore. Cashin's in it, but only (as far as I can tell from a quick flip) marginally, with flashes back to what happened to him. Dove's in it. Villani's in it front and centre.

At a glance its style looks even more compressed and elliptical than last time; Temple is the kind of writer who makes extensive demands on the reader's intelligence and no concessions to any momentary lapse of concentration. His writing reminds me of Dorothy Dunnett's and the way that she, too, cavalierly leaves vast tracts of information unexpressed and unexplained, and makes the sorts of jokes that depend largely on what is not said, making you howl with laughter but only after a longish internal silence while you work it out. Reading them both is a sort of chairbound steeplechase, a series of wild attempts to get to the next paragraph with your understanding fully intact. The epigraph is a haunting, abstract scrap of Rilke:

But because truly, being here is so much; because everything here apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which in some strange way keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting of all.


  1. You're the third person I've come across who's read this book. It is becoming very wearisome. Must go back and read THE BROKEN SHORE by way of entree.

    Good photo, by the way: reminds me of the mid-North. I remember once falling asleep on a bus in Spain. When I woke and looked out the window I honestly felt I was back home in South Australia - dusty paddocks and eucalypts - until I realised we were driving on the wrong side of the road and that there was a large wooden cutout of a bull on a nearby hill. Sorta gave me a good hint.

    Perry Middlemiss

  2. Yep, I'm thinking I need to read The Broken Shore again first too. If I can find it -- the most likely scenario is that I lent it to someone who's never given it back ...

  3. How would one snaffle an advance copy? I'm willing to lie and cheat.

  4. If any one else has a proof of this I'm interested.

  5. Hi - would you like to sell your proof copy?

  6. The comma splices in this seriously annoyed me. What has the full stop ever done to annoy Peter Temple? What did he think he was achieving?