Jennifer Mills: Gone

Present chill

Adam Rivett

 

Gone
by Jennifer Mills
University of Queensland Press
$34.95 pb, 320 pp, 9780702238710

 

Writing in the Guardian late last year, Philip Pullman said this of what he regards as the dominant style in contemporary fiction: ‘What I dislike about the present-tense narrative is its limited range of expressiveness. I feel claustrophobic, always pressed up against the immediate.’ This description highlights both the virtues and the flaws in Jennifer Mills’s second novel, Gone. Frequently powerful, and highly attuned to both landscape and psychology, the method by which it conjures these forces – a relentless use of the present tense, with all its sweaty immediacy and driven focus – is also the same method that occasionally exhausts the reader. Mills has created a vivid yet punishing book.

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Published in April 2011 no. 330
Adam Rivett

Adam Rivett

Adam Rivett is a Melbourne-based reviewer. He contributes to The Slow Review.

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