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Last Letter to a Reader

140 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published November 2021
ISBN 9781925818840
Epub ISBN 9781925818901
Epdf ISBN 9781925818918

Last Letter to a Reader

Gerald Murnane

The final work by Gerald Murnane

In early spring in his eighty-second year, Gerald Murnane began a project which would round off his career as a writer – he would read all of his books in turn and prepare a report on each. His original intention was to lodge the reports in two of his legendary archives, the Chronological Archive, which documents his life as a whole, and the Literary Archive, which is devoted to everything he has written for publication. But as the reports grew, they themselves took on the form of a book, Last Letter to a Reader. The essays on each of his works travel through the capacious territory Murnane refers to as his mind: they dwell on the circumstances which gave rise to the writing, images, associations, reflections on the theory of fiction, and memories of a deeply personal kind. The final essay is on Last Letter to a Reader itself: it considers the elation and exhilaration which accompany the act of writing, and offers a moving ending as death approaches.

Praise for Gerald Murnane:

No living Australian writer, not even Les Murray, has higher claims to permanence or a richer sense of distinctionSydney Morning Herald

The emotional conviction…is so intense, the somber lyricism so moving, the intelligence behind the chiseled sentences so undeniable, that we suspend all disbelief.J.M. Coetzee

Last Letter to a Reader was published in the United Kingdom and United States of America by And Other Stories in May 2022.

About the Author

Gerald Murnane

Gerald Murnane is a recipient of an Emeritus Fellowship from the Australia Council, the Patrick White Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature, the Adelaide Festival Literature Award for Innovation and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. His last work of fiction, Border Districts, received the the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction, was shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

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He sees fiction as a kind of bridge between worlds, allowing ghostly fictional personages to travel through our mental landscapes. Those fictional personages have at least as much agency as us, and they populate our minds in accordance with their own needs and inclinations. We become their vessels.

The Monthly

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Gerald Murnane: a note on Last Letter to a Reader

“Nearly six years ago, when I had written the last of my poems for the collection Green Shadows and Other Poems, I felt sure that I could write nothing more for publication. I went on writing, of course, but only for my archives.”

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