The Color of the Sky by Peter Cowan

by
October 1986, no. 85
Paul Salzman reviews 'The Color of the Sky' by Peter Cowan

The Color of the Sky

by Peter Cowan

Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 128 pp, $12.50 pb

The Color of the Sky by Peter Cowan

by
October 1986, no. 85

Peter Cowan’s new novel The Color of the Sky is an elliptical, even enigmatic, narrative. Although specifically labelled a ‘novel’, it is a novella in its concision pf narrative explanation; as well as in its length. The layers of event and reminiscence are multifarious enough to fill out a hefty tome but are compressed in such a way that they become almost cryptic messages requiring considerable deciphering on the part of the reader.

If I produced the kind of summary often trotted out in reviews, it would provide a very misleading picture of what the novel is like when read. The narrator, Leon, is summoned back from a year in England to Australia, to the country house of his few remaining relatives. There he is drawn into a world that hints at drug running, at smuggling, through a woman, Annette, whose exact relationship to the household is vague. Intercut with Leon’s narrative are snatches of the life of an exploring nineteenth-century forebear, Tom. But the story is not the aim of the exercise; the snippets of information are presented in a way that suggests a puzzle, but they cannot be put together as easily as the reader, at first, imagines.

Paul Salzman reviews 'The Color of the Sky' by Peter Cowan

The Color of the Sky

by Peter Cowan

Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 128 pp, $12.50 pb

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.