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A collection of personal essays and writing from David Malouf to celebrate his 80th birthday.

A collection of personal essays and writing from David Malouf to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Topography, geography, history. Multiculturalism, referendums, the constitution and national occasions. Parental and grandparental romances, the sensual and bountiful beauty of Brisbane, the mysterious offerings of Queenslander houses, and leaving home. The idea of a nation and the heart of its people. Being Australian and Australia's relationship to the world. Putting ourselves on the map.

All these subjects, and more, are explored from the generous, questioning and original perspective of David Malouf.

At the heart of these pieces is the idea of home, where and what it is. What they illustrate is the formation of a man, an Australian and one of the best writers this country has produced.

Reviews

Best book of 2015.

Sonia Lee, Gleaner

A sublime meditation on this country in all of its illuminating contradictions.

David Marr, The Monthly

Malouf is our best living interpreter of place and tradition, a novelist, poet and essayist whose imaginative achievement for this country is second only to Patrick White's. They are indeed blessings, these essays. They are wise, instructive, persuasive, ornamented with poetic sketches of places and people, elevated by a half-concealed melancholy and touched with a secret yearning for a place that is more than first, but is also last and always: a place that is less than heaven, but more, perhaps, than home.

Andrew Fuhrmann, The Sun-Herald

A First Place, is remarkable for its breadth of mind, its elegance and for an overall effect of something like wisdom. What is so remarkable about the broodings on his homeland of this novelist, poet, academic manque is that he is so expert on what he speaks of and yet has the range experts so rarely dare to reach unto. We are lucky to have the glimpses of a grandeur these essays disclose, not least because of the occasional pang of sorrow and pity that floods through them as well as the all-encompassing reasonableness that they exemplify.

Peter Craven, The Age

It is the exquisite microtonal progression of Malouf’s style – its determined concentration on the domestic, its evident desire to rescue small human story from the wreckage of History or the distant abstractions of mythology – that grants these tactical incursions into the social and political everyday a sense of charm and a subversive lightness. His ideas are communicated with such suavity and decorum that their deeper implications might easily be passed over. But, since he remains reticent on the matter, it falls to the rest of us to acknowledge that Malouf’s creative works formed one crucial component in establishing this new balance. It was his stories, and the lucidity and intelligence with which they lay claim to the world about them, that helped Australians to turn their habitation into a home.

The Saturday Paper

The prose pieces collected in A First Place are all focused on Australia and give the cumulative effect of a thinker with a shrewd cosmopolitan mind and a poet's eye, showing us ourselves as we have changed over the years. We are indebted to Knopf for gathering these urbane, intelligent, deeply committed and often provocative insights together into one accessible volume.

Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

David Malouf’s absorbing essays, full of erudition and with his trademark lucid prose, engage with the troubled issue of Australian identity.

Kathy Gollan, Newtown Review of Books

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780857984043

    March 2, 2015

    Vintage Australia

    368 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9780857984050

    March 3, 2014

    Knopf Australia

    368 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780857984067

    March 3, 2014

    RHA eBooks Adult

    368 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by David Malouf

The One Day: Short Black 7
Being There
The Writing Life
Earth Hour
Harland's Half Acre
The Conversations At Curlew Creek
The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World
The Happy Life: The Search of Contentment in the Modern World: QuarterlyEssay 41
Ransom
The Complete Stories
On Experience
Revolving Days: Selected Poems
Every Move You Make
Typewriter Music
Made in England: Australia's British Inheritance: Quarterly Essay 12
Dream Stuff
Johnno
Jane Eyre
The Great World
12 Edmondstone Street
Antipodes
Fly Away Peter
An Imaginary Life
Child's Play

Recommendations

Meditations
Nineteen Eighty Four
The Little Prince: Popular Penguins
Mao's Last Dancer
The Crucible
Dracula
Crime And Punishment
The Odyssey
The Odyssey
The Annotated Big Sleep
Culture and Society
Late Essays
Parting Words
Cantonese Love Stories: Penguin Specials
A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work
The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables
The Bughouse
The People Elsewhere
The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall
Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty and Truth