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'This is a teasing grab-bag of thoughts, memories, anecdotes and effronteries that achieves luxurious coherence.' -- Weekend Australian

AS I WAS SAYING is a swirling conversation with the reader on everything from travel to dogs and cats, from sport and swearing to the pleasures of idleness. Punctuated at regular intervals by talks Dessaix has given on a wide range of subjects, as well as by some of his most incisive journalism, the conversation invites the reader to join a leisurely guided tour of his chamber of curiosities, featuring pieces collected all over the globe from across the centuries. Whether writing home from Vladivostock or Damascus, discussing what makes for good conversation or thinking aloud about the paintings, poems and books he loves, Dessaix always writes with an intimacy and attentiveness that beguile, entertain and make his readers eager for new discoveries.


It is a wonderfully rich and challenging piece. This book is energised with colour and the virtuosity of language. It is a book to muse over by taking a walk.

Christopher Bantick, Sunday Magazine, Hobart

This is a teasing grab-bag of thoughts, memories, anecdotes and effronteries that achieves luxurious coherence.

Gillian Wills, Weekend Australian

In an era where the art of good conversation is replaced by tweets and status updates, Dessaix represents a refreshing blast from the good old days when thoughts longer than 140 characters actually mattered.

William Verity, Illawarra Mercury

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    March 1, 2012

    Vintage Australia

    224 pages

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    March 1, 2012

    RHA eBooks Adult

    224 pages

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Robert Dessaix

The Pleasures of Leisure
What Days Are For
On Humbug


Depends What You Mean by Extremist
The Shepherd's Life
David & Goliath
There It Is Again
The New Puberty
One Halal of a Story
ISS 23 Heroes, villains and the muslim exception
Scraps of Wool
Chronicles of a Liquid Society
I Can't Breathe
The Meaning of Rice
Whiteley on Trial
The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve
Labor of Love
La Mama
The Weather Obsession
Says Who? the struggle for authority in a market-based society
Al-Britannia, My Country