When it comes to looking back over his life, Archie Fliess has got some understanding to do. So begins a sprawling reflection on Archie’s life during the early twentieth century, starting the day the fortunes of Archie and brother Reggie change when they are taken to be the rightful owners of the property built by their grandfather in country NSW. Along their journey, they are introduced to an odd collection of family and caretakers who don’t always have the best interests of the boys at heart. Archie becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding his grandfather’s life, and as the two stories Archie’s and his grandfather’s unravel, we see familiar themes of disappointment and failed ambition. Glissando is a tale that travels along many threads, told in a playful, philosophical voice reminiscent of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, with shades of Patrick White’s Voss. It’s an Australian classic, a satirical romp of epic proportions.
David Musgrave is a magician
– Don Anderson