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An Ordinary Ecstasy

240 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published July 2022
ISBN 9781922725240
Epub ISBN 9781922725509
Epdf ISBN 9781922725516

An Ordinary Ecstasy

Luke Carman

A new collection of stories by the award-winning author of An Elegant Young Man and Intimate Antipathies.

The seven stories that make up An Ordinary Ecstasy explore the lives of people whose days are marked by anxiety and tenderness and exaltation: the musician who rides the winding railway up into the mountains at dusk, the retiree walking the streets of his suburb at dawn, the lovers on the balcony of their hotel room watching surfers cut across the waves, the mates who travel north to Byron Bay in search of healing and revenge. In the panoramic reach of his sentences, the exuberance of his language, the flamboyant gestures and obsessions of his characters, Carman captures the scale of emotion as it grows in intensity, often comically, from the smallest and most ordinary things. His stories may be said to embody a principle observed by the novelist Joseph Conrad: ‘There is not a place of splendour or a dark corner of the earth that does not deserve, if only in passing, a glance of wonder.’

Praise for An Ordinary Ecstasy:

The stories in this utterly original collection are dense, rollicking and emotionally rewarding…There are also pockets of exquisite clarity, when the characters and the narrative pull are momentarily stilled by wonder.
The Canberra Times

An Ordinary Ecstasy is not about pretty sentences, though many are and use technical devices with great skill. The writing fits… The stories unspool; the prose floats the reader along, as if on long tracking shots through the suburbs, up the coast, through the cold Katoomba twilight, from a hospital to the beach.
The Conversation

Carman upholds daily life (and the capacity to endure it) as something to be exalted for the marvel which it is; like the heroes and gods of epic poetry, the challenges of ordinariness are complex, captivating, heartbreaking, exhilarating and entirely worthy of being written about… It is hard to know if Carman has captured the world as I know it, or if my world has been tinted by the shades of his literary brush. Either way, I come away from reading An Ordinary Ecstasy with gratitude.
Westerly Magazine

Incantatory and monomaniacal, tender and mutinous, An Ordinary Ecstasy is a stellar, inimitable collection. Long may these characters live on, lost in their fist fights with the fog.
Sydney Review of Books

Praise for An Elegant Young Man:

Carman’s prose blends literature and popular culture, punk and poetry, and transforms this rich seam of influence into his own contagious voice with an admirable disregard for the distinctions of high and low art.
Sydney Morning Herald

Vivid, doleful, comically surreal and painfully stark…brings a vast suburban emptiness to brilliant life.
Geordie Williamson

The language is exuberant…Carman writes beautifully.
The Australian


Special offer

Buy An Ordinary Ecstasy and Luke Carman’s award-winning debut fiction An Elegant Young Man at a reduced price. This offer is available only for a limited time. Learn more.

About the Author

Luke Carman

Luke Carman’s debut fiction, An Elegant Young Man, won the 2014 NSW Premier’s New Writing Award and was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal, the Steele Rudd Short Story Prize and the Readings New Writing Award. His essay collection, Intimate Antipathies, was published in June 2019.

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The stories in this utterly original collection are dense, rollicking and emotionally rewarding.

The Canberra Times

Related News

Luke Carman: a note on An Ordinary Ecstasy

‘Captured in the series of stories that make up An Ordinary Ecstasy are the voices of people strange to me, all of them in states of ordinary ecstasy – those moments of everyday intensity which punctuate the general calamity of consciousness.’

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