cover image A Season on Earth

A Season on Earth

Gerald Murnane. Text, $26.95 (512p) ISBN 978-1-925773-34-7

This touching, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel from Murnane (Border Districts) presents the original vision of what became his second novel, 1976’s A Lifetime on Clouds. Two previously unpublished sections are now added to the funny, stirring chronicle of the adolescence of Adrian Sherd. In 1950s suburban Melbourne, Adrian is fixated on sex. To appease his Catholic guilt and cure himself of the “sins of impurity” he commits alone, Adrian decides to devote himself to a girl he sees every day on the train. Though he never speaks to her, he vividly imagines a complex married life together that doesn’t really alter his fixation on sex. So, he decides to become a priest, joining the Catholic Charleroi order as a junior seminarian (a section that proves essential for understanding how Murnane evolved from a sad, young seminarian into a committed literary aesthete). He later changes his mind, opting instead to join the Cistercians, which offer him better landscapes to peruse. But once he is back home in Melbourne, he changes his vocation yet again. Murnane’s protagonist is absolutely unforgettable, and the author himself, whose name has been appearing on Nobel Prize–contender lists recently, only adds to his exceptional body of work with this wonderful novel. (Sept.)