Border Districts

Gerald Murnane



Conceived as Gerald Murnane’s last work of fiction, Border Districts was written after the author moved from Melbourne to a small town on the western edge of the Wimmera plains, near the border with South Australia. The narrator of this fiction has made a similar move, from a capital city to a remote town in the border country, where he intends to spend the last years of his life. it is a time for exploring the enduring elements of his experience, as these exist in his mind, not as an integral landscape now, but as image-fragments; so that there is an urgency in his attempts to gather them together. Often it is the way the light falls that makes the image memorable. At the end of the work, Murnane quotes the poet Shelley, ‘Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,/ Stains the white radiance of Eternity’. But if Border Districts suggests the border land between life and death, it also refers to the narrator’s discovery of someone else who might share his world, though she enters it from another direction, across the distance which separates them as human beings.

Giramondo’s publication of Gerald Murnane’s new work of fiction comes at a time of heightened international interest in this highly regarded author. Border Districts and Murnane’s Collected Short Fiction will be released in the United States by distinguished New York publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux in early 2018.

‘a genius on the level of Beckett’ — Teju Cole

‘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

High-res cover image

ISBN : 9781925336542
Epdf ISBN : 978-1-925336-57-3
Epub ISBN : 978-1-925336-58-0
pp : 192
Published : November 2017

About the Author

Gerald Murnane
Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. He is the author of eleven works of fiction, including Tamarisk Row, The Plains, InlandBarley PatchA History of Books, A Million Windows, and Border Districts, and a collection of essays, Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs. He 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 and the 2018 ALS Gold Medal, and longlisted for the 2018 Voss Literary Prize.

Gerald Murnane Online Archive


Shortlisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award 2018
Shortlisted, Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction 2018
Longlisted, Voss Literary Prize 2018
Shortlisted, ALS Gold Medal 2018


The New York Times: ‘Two New Books From Australia, Unconstrained by Literary Convention’
The Australian
The Saturday Paper
Sydney Morning Herald
The Monthly
Washington Post

Australian Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
The Lifted Brow
The Washington Post
Complete Review
ANZ LitLovers
3:AM Magazine
Coburg Review of Books
Los Angeles Review of Books
Music and Literature
London Review of Books
Times Literary Supplement
Lonesome Reader
Tony’s Reading List


New York Times Magazine – ‘Is the Next Nobel Laureate in Literature Tending Bar in a Dusty Australian Town?’
Paris Review
Paris Review (excerpt)
The Guardian – ‘Gerald Murnane: one of Australia’s greatest writers you may never have heard of’
The Guardian – ‘Miles Franklin 2018 shortlist: Gerald Murnane gets first nod in 44-year career’
The Guardian – ‘Acclaim at last for Gerald Murnane, lost genius of Australian letters’
The Spectator UK – ‘The Australian James Joyce: the novels of Gerald Murnane reviewed’
New Statesman – ‘The navel-gazing fictions of Gerald Murnane’
The Irish Times – ‘Gerald Murnane’s strange, unique, uncategorisable novels’
Financial Times – ‘Tamarisk Row and Border Districts by Gerald Murnane — Australia’s dark horse’
Music and Literature – profile of Gerald Murnane
ABC – ‘Australian author, Nobel candidate Gerald Murnane on having career upswing at 80 then quitting publishing’


Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist video
The Wheeler Centre – in conversation