Wall

$29.95 inc GST

Product Description

  • LONGLISTED FOR THE 2024 MILES FRANKLIN LITERARY AWARD
  • 2024 SHORTLIST – THE VICTORIAN PREMIER’S LITERARY AWARDS FOR FICTION

A woman returns to Australia to clear out her father’s house, with an eye to transforming the contents into an art installation in the tradition of the revered Chinese artist Song Dong. What she hasn’t reckoned with is the tangle of jealousies, resentments, and familial complications that she had thought, in leaving the country, she had put behind her — a tangle that ensnares her before she arrives.

Wall is an extraordinarily compacted work of rich complexity, humour, and sadness. Its narrator’s steadfast desire to explain herself, to clarify the seemingly unclarifiable, is as close to mirroring the roiling momentum of real consciousness that I’ve read in a modern novel. When I read Jen Craig I find it impossible to imagine a better way to capture the mysterious workings of the mind – its inadvertent epiphanies, its loose but determined associations, its cruelly recurring entrapments – without writing just like her. But no one else could.”
SHAUN PRESCOTT, Bon and Lesley

“In Jen Craig’s astonishing prose, language turns on itself and its users, paradoxically bringing us closer to the very things that resist description. As Wall’s artist narrator sifts and sorts through layers of inherited rubbish, provisional arguments, and unreliable artifice — trying to find the needle in the haystack as well as, at all costs, avoid it — we are so completely drawn into her language and her patterns of thought that we begin to
wonder whether the gap between art and life is ever a gap at all.”
EMILY HALL, The Longcut

“Every new novel by Jen Craig is cause for celebration. They are a reminder that literature is still being written in the English language. In Wall, her brilliant third novel, Jen Craig deepens her proliferative style of self-examination as her narrator tries to contend with that most heart wrenching of questions: how to dispose of your parents’ belongings after they die?”
MAURO JAVIER CÁRDENAS, Aphasia

REVIEWS 

Wall exudes an unrelenting obsessiveness…Craig commits to the Sisyphean task of bridging the gap between experience and representation, between life and art…Wall is a beast of a novel, a demanding but rewarding work, and a memorable exploration of the tangles of life and art.” NAAMA GREY-SMITH, Australian Book Review  (paywalled)

“Craig’s work constructs an idiosyncratic monologue …The narrator’s return to Australia forces a reckoning with what she has left behind, and unspools into a densely written, essayistic anatomy of grief and the enigmatic borderlands between art and life, mind and body; between profusion and scarcity, thought and action…It’s the third in a trilogy, though complex and nimble enough to beguile on its own.” CAMERON WOODHEAD, The Sydney Morning Herald

“Craig’s novels, are endomorphic: the skeletal frames of their narrative plots are barely visible beneath the roving stream of consciousness that encases them…The narrator’s thoughts are laid bare in the kind of equalised pattern of significance that emerges when a patient is freely associating with her therapist… Craig’s masterstroke is in her ability to write carefully constructed sentences that attest to the mind’s capacity to make sense of ‘time’s relentless melt’.” KASUMI BORCYZK, Sydney Review of Books

“Jen Craig’s new novel, Wall, is a powerful exploration of an artist’s need to explain herself and to be understood by herself and others…encompassing the narrator’s full set of thoughts, loose associations, memories, and emotions, the book is full of clutter, arranged into a meticulously complex edifice demanding full attention from the reader…a book about grief and artistic achievement and the way in which art cannot be separated from life, its vast ambition and meticulous execution will reward rereading.” MAKS SIPOWICZ, Meanjin Quarterly 

“It is the perfect novel for those of us with difficult families. Craig writes these beautiful, long, looping sentences that take you in different directions.” EMMETT STINSON, ABC Tasmania Evenings (not currently available)

“The Blue Mountain’s-based author likewise combines exactitude and vagueness, immediacy and distance, to approximate how scatty, wormhole-like human thought might be represented on the page.” GEORDIE WILLIAMSON, The Saturday Paper 

“The narrator in Wall is an artist, and she conceives of the Wall as a project—an object, a piece—that would represent her experience of living with anorexia…There is a vivid life-fullness in the narrative voice of Wall. It is a voice that starts to gush and overflow, all the while slowing itself down.” ISABELLA GULLIFER-LAURIE, Overland Literary Journal

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