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Witty, acerbic, insightful musings from Robert Dessaix, one of Australia's finest writers.

Witty, acerbic, insightful musings from Robert Dessaix, one of Australia's finest writers.

One Sunday night in Sydney, Robert Dessaix collapses in a gutter in Darlinghurst, and is helped to his hotel by a kind young man wearing a T-shirt that says FUCK YOU. What follows are weeks in hospital, tubes and cannulae puncturing his body, as he recovers from the heart attack threatening daily to kill him.

While lying in the hospital bed, Robert chances upon Philip Larkin’s poem 'Days’. What, he muses, have his days been for? What and who has he loved – and why?

This is vintage Robert Dessaix. His often surprisingly funny recollections range over topics as eclectic as intimacy, travel, spirituality, enchantment, language and childhood, all woven through with a heightened sense of mortality.

Reviews

The pleasure and elegance of all Dessaix’s writing is in the language, the erudition, the delicate, often unexpected and lovely connections, and the intimate, conversational voice. Anyone who listened to him during his decade as a presenter of the ABC’s Books and Writing program will immediately hear him

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen, Weekend Australian

Dessaix’s new book, What Days Are For, is perfect

Ramona Koval

Dessaix’s voice and literary personality are unique in contemporary Australian letters

Andrew Riemer, Sydney Morning Herald

Dessaix writes with great elegance, with passion, compassion and sly wit

John Banville

An artful rendering of his bodily experiences and his stream of thoughts about love, travel, literature, religion, mortality and other concerns familiar to readers of his work . . . [a] meandering but precise, playful and often profound essay

Susan Wyndham

. . . a passeggiata . . . an evening stroll through some ancient city before night comes down . . . There are jokes and whimsy and old-fashioned camp. In that final journey across the Styx, Dessaix, you have to imagine, would make the most delightful (late) companion.

Australian Financial Review

For two weeks Dessaix drowned in vivid dreams, moving in and out of his own thoughts, and this is a day-by-day account. But Dessaix uses his dissociated state to spin the book out into something much more: a meditation on life, love, infatuation, travel, religion, and friendship . . . Caressing and impeccable, his is a very particular voice, moving lightly across the page . . . skeptical and self-aware

Delia Falconer, Australian Book Review

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback

    9780857985767

    November 3, 2014

    Knopf Australia

    240 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • 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

    9780857985774

    November 3, 2014

    Random House Australia

    208 pages

    Online retailers

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

    9780857989017

    October 1, 2015

    Vintage Australia

    240 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • 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

Awards and Recognition

  • Margaret Scott Prize
    2015
    Shortlisted
    Margaret Scott Prize - Tasmanian Premier's Literary Prizes
  • Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature
    2016
    Winner
    Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature - Non-Fiction Award

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