About a third of the way into Simon Cleary’s Closer to Stone, all of the preceding distinctively phrased metaphors and similes, all of the fragrant, lucid imagery – along with some that is rather less than lucid: how, exactly, does one pick up a drink and take a ‘deep sip’? – begin to meld into a compelling whole. Narrator Bas Adams, scouring the immense unknown of the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria for his brother Jack, who has been absent without notice from duty as a United Nations peacekeeping soldier, has come across the woman who last saw him alive. Sophia, a strong-willed, self-sufficient American schoolteacher, informs Bas that Jack had been undergoing a process of recuperation, though not from any physical ailment: ‘his need,’ she says, ‘was like a wound [...] he was dying inside, and he had the courage to choose another life.’
Dean Biron reviews 'Closer to Stone' by Simon Cleary
Closer to Stone
by Simon Cleary
University of Queensland Press, $29.95 pb, 304 pp, 9780702239229
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Dean Biron teaches in the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University. Hewas co-winner of the 2011 Calibre Essay Prize.
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