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Mortal Divide

208 pages
illustrated, Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published August 2022
ISBN 9781922725295

Mortal Divide

The Autobiography of Yiorgos AlexandroglouGeorge Alexander

Illustrations by Peter Lyssiotis

WINNER: NSW Premier’s Literary Award 1999

One of the great works of fiction on the relationship between migration and identity in Australian literature, first published in 1997. 

A groundbreaking novel which combines fiction and biography, memory and imagination, Mortal Divide is even more striking now for its range and inventiveness than when it was first published twenty-five years ago. It focuses on the eponymous narrator George Alexander who, as Yiorgos Alexandroglou, is both the author himself under his Greek name, and his grandfather, whose name he carries. Suffering a breakdown in confidence because of the stresses in his marriage, and the failure of his vocation as a writer, he finds himself in Perth where he was raised, then in Port Said where he was conceived, then in Kastellorizo, the tiny Greek island just off the Turkish coast, which was the home of his forebears. These places and others he has lived in are overlaid, like the figures from his past, his parents and grandparents, his wife and daughters and lovers, his own multiple identities and those he has drawn from films and books. The result is an intricate interweaving of connections, the associations doubling, tripling, proliferating, in proof that ‘elsewhere is inscribed everywhere’.

Mortal Divide is a miracle: a book that gives us an out-of-body experience, while also reconciling us to our mortal, finite, bruised and beautiful bodies.
Adrian Martin

An anti-oedipal odyssey, Joycean roman à clef, migrant memoir, and Orphic mini-epic…The value of Mortal Divide is in its bold pace, visual density, and dignified humour.
Adam Aitken

A brilliant, black-humoured study of masculinity in crisis, George Alexander tries to figure out how one “dreams oneself together as a man”.
Kathleen Mary Fallon

About the Author

George Alexander

By birth an Australian, by heritage mixed Greek-Italian, George Alexander grew up in the working class Sydney suburb of Botany in a family that spoke five languages. His books include The Book of the Dead, Sparagmos, Mortal Divide, which won a NSW Premier’s Literary Award, and Slow Burn.

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Reviews

Mortal Divide is ‘autofiction’ without narcissism…beautifully complemented by Peter Lyssiotis’ mesmeric photo-montage.

Australian Book Review

Awards

WINNER: NSW Premier’s Literary Award 1999

Related News

George Alexander: a note on Mortal Divide

‘The limited-consensus reality ignores the strangeness of most lives, of the consciousness that lives in us. Who was I then? Who am I really? Am I “George” or “Yiorgos”? Angel or devil? Well, both, of course.’

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