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The Conversations at Curlow Creek by David…

The Conversations at Curlow Creek (1996)

by David Malouf

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Conversations at Curlow Creek is the first novel by Malouf that I've been disappointed in, after three five-star reads--[b:Remembering Babylon|827326|Remembering Babylon|David Malouf|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1429429945s/827326.jpg|995164], [b:An Imaginary Life|6240|An Imaginary Life|David Malouf|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389501088s/6240.jpg|1442072], and the masterfully understated [b:Ransom|6460814|Ransom|David Malouf|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1241983288s/6460814.jpg|6651239]. One consolation I find in the existence of Conversation at Curlow Creek, though, is that this novel, primarily a night-long conversation between two men with interstitial scenes told in flashback, most certainly prepared Malouf as an artist and writer for the task of writing Ransom, which is also story of a night-long conversation between two men, Priam and Achilles.

Here in this earlier novel, though, Malouf's elegant prose trends dangerously close to purplish, and the back story of love and rivalry doesn't hold the necessary dramatic weight to support the life-and-death conversation happening in the novel's present-day story line. ( )
  poingu | Jan 23, 2016 |
beautiful novel: love that a chance visit to #Oxfam books means I have discovered a new (to me) author. ( )
  charl08 | Aug 11, 2013 |
In The Conversations at Curlow Creek, two strangers spend the night talking. One, an outlaw, is to be hanged at dawn. The other is the police officer who has been sent to supervise the hanging. As the night wears on, the two men share memories and uncover unlikely connections between their lives. The story takes place in 1827 in New South Wales, Australia, which gives the novel the feel of an American western. The troopers presence in the colony is to round up outlaws, and keep an eye on the aborigine population.

I was immediately caught up in Malouf's beautiful prose, and the situations that brought these men together. But ultimately, the story centers on the background of trooper Adair, and a love triangle from his past. He has traveled to Australia in the hopes of tracking down Fergus, a childhood friend, who may now be going by the alias Dolan. Adair is head-over-heels in love with Virgilia back home in Ireland, but she has always favored Fergus.

By spending the night with doomed convict Carnery, Adair hopes to find out what has truly become of Fergus, AKA Dolan. He could then travel back home to sweet Virgilia with news that his rival is buried under three feet of dusty ground, and that he, Adair, was the best suitor all along.

When the novel journeys into Adair's privileged past, and his unrequited love that he still pines for, I started to lose interest (i.e., eyelids getting heavy.) The beautiful prose, and interesting characters got lost in the background story for me. ( )
  hayduke | Apr 3, 2013 |
This is the first book I've read by David Malouf, but it won't be the last. Beautifully crafted, characters that are unforgettable. And, at least with this book, the interesting history of Australia and the people who were brought over from the British Isles, one way or another. When I first read the reviews, I thought it would be similar to A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest Gaines. However, this book is much more the story of the soldier/captor, and what brings him to where he is, than the story of the captive. Read the reviews to get a sense of the story. Read the story to gain a sense of David Malouf.
  harristwd | Jul 24, 2010 |
Slow to start because I could find few points of engagement in the first chapter, the story then unfolded in a langourous nostalgic rumination on destiny and self-discovery as a soldier converses with his condemned prisoner through the night before the dawn execution. The convict is little more than a catalyst for the soldier's reminiscences of growing up in a Georgian Irish country house but there is an evocation of intimacy and human connection that raises this above the average. ( )
  TheoClarke | Dec 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679779051, Paperback)

It is only natural for our eyes to wander into the circumstances of others and either count our blessings or rail at the injustice of fate. How we deal with the fate dealt us is the subject of David Malouf's shadowy novel. Having grown up in the same household, but under different circumstances, two foster-brothers respond to fate in radically different ways and with radically different results. While one takes kismet under his horsewhip, the other dares not rebel. This haunting replay of Greek tragedy will reverberate in your mind long after the last page is turned, for as with these men, fate is our habitat.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:23 -0400)

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On the eve of an execution in 1870s Australia, two men discuss the vagaries of life. One is a rebel condemned for attempting an insurrection, the other an officer sent to supervise his hanging. They are both Irish. By the author of Remembering Babylon.… (more)

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