In this arresting and richly imaginative collection of twelve stories. Gail Jones explores the role of obsession the inescapable loves and torments she calls fetishes - in the lives of both the famous and the ordinary. Structured around a series of lyrical echoes and repeated images, her stories weave fact and speculation to recreate little-known events in the lives of such figures as Marcel Proust, Walt Whitman, and Elvis Presley that may have motivated their art and obsessed them as individuals.
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Gail Jones lectures in the English Department at The University of Western Australia.From Kirkus Reviews:
A debut collection(winner of the 1997 Western Australian Premier's Book of the Year Award) that sneaks a sidelong view of history as the true and only drama left to us moderns. Most of the real-life characters here are famous, but the 12 stories that Jones invents for them will surprise readers who think theyve heard it all before. Madame Tussaud and Elvis Presley, Walt Whitman and Anton Chekhov, Karl Marx's daughterall are pulled out of the confines of mere biography and kneaded into a postmodern dough that rises with the yeast of invention. Thus, we find Eleanor Marx dying slowly while slaving over her translation of Madame Bovary, whereas Anton Chekhov falls quietly in love with a Ceylonese servant girl (whom he leaves but never manages to forget). The ``fetish'' of the title quickly reveals itself as an obsession, shared by all the principal characters, for some minor object, event, or person whose importance swells into a consuming passion. In ``The Veil,'' a member of the firing squad that executes Mata Hari receives a last seductive glance from the femme fatale just at the moment that he pulls the trigger, and thereby becomes the condemned woman's final victim. In ``Queenie the Wordless,'' a working-class Australian girl, convinced she is an heir to the British throne, is struck dumb while listening to Queen Elizabeth's Christmas broadcast. And in ``Touch,'' the homosexual Walt Whitman is transformed into a kind of literary paterfamilias after haunting various artists who lived after him, from van Gogh to Kafka to Isadora Duncan. Fascinating and marvelously fluid, though occasional lapses into pomposity (How many landmines, after all, have confiscated how many souls? What is it that returns to earth in such bloodied bits and pieces?'') threaten to ditch Jones into an academic gutter. Fortunately, she always pulls out in time. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Freemantle, Western Aus, 1997. Trade Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Stories about famous people and their obsessions - characters include Proust, Chekhov, Virginia Woolf and Eleanor Marx, 178 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 011834
Book Description Fremantle Arts Center Pr, Australia, 1997. Soft cover. Book Condition: Fine. Wray (illustrator). 1st Edition. Book square, spine straight, pages tight, clean, complete, uncreased and not remaindered. No previous owner name or marks. Prompt postage with free tracking within Australia. "Saints and dancers, writers and film stars, Elvis, Madame Tussaud and Mata Hari: just some of the lives explored in these unusual and arresting stories.". Bookseller Inventory # 001727
Book Description Fremantle Arts Centre Press, South Fremantle, Western Australia, 1997. Soft cover. Book Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. 178p. Illustrated wrappers. Author's second collection of short stories and joint winner of two Western Australian Premier's Fiction Prizes. Some page tanning and a light crease to spine. A very good first printing. Bookseller Inventory # 8994
Book Description Fremantle Arts Center Pr, Fremantle, WA Australia, 1997. colour Illus Stiff Card. Book Condition: Good. First Edition. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 505778