Book Review: Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs

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Murnane Reveals Himself in These Thoughtful Essay

Lilacs is a collection of essays Murnane published over 20 years ago. In Lilacs Murnane reveals his interest in personal libraries and that he reads voraciously, keeping records of what he reads and when he reads them. He fondly mentions his father, who owned a racehorse, and notes that he was raised around horse racing. He also shows a passionate interest in all types of birds. He questions his own interpretation and memory of books he’s read. 

He evaluates the effect that other writers’ works had on him, either knowingly or unknowingly, and speaks of lessons learned from either the knowledge, or the lack of that knowledge. He also is blunt about things he didn’t see or understand in those writers’ works, and contrasts that with what he knows now.

If you read both Stream System and Lilacs, you will see many similarities between the fictional characters’ experiences and those of Murnane himself.

About The Author

Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1939. He is the author of fifteen books, only one of which was published in the UK before And Other Stories started to publish him here in 2019 with his first book Tamarisk Row and his most latest work of prose, Border Districts. In 2020, And Other Stories published his collected stories, Stream System, as well as a collection of his essays, Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs, though it can be hard to separate story and essay in his writing. 

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Article originally Published in the February/March 2020 Issue “Short Stories”

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