Chandani Lokugé: Softly, As I Leave You

Illusive beauty

Gillian Dooley


Softly, As I Leave You
by Chandani Lokugé
Arcadia (Australian Scholarly Publishing), $24.95 pb, 252 pp, 9781921875410


A treacherous beauty pervades Chandani Lokugé’s third novel, a tragic story of loss and squandered love. Chris Foscari, owner of a rarefied specialist bookshop in Melbourne and son of an Italian father and an Australian mother, is married to the outrageously beautiful Sri Lankan Uma, whom he met when she was studying in Melbourne. They have a teenage son, Arjuna, who is also blessed with unusual grace, at least in his mother’s eyes:

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Gillian Dooley

Gillian Dooley

Gillian Dooley is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in English at Flinders University, and a Visiting Fellow in the Music Department at Southampton University. Her publications include an edited book of interviews with Iris Murdoch (2003), V.S. Naipaul, Man and Writer (2006), J.M. Coetzee and the Power of Narrative (2010), and journal articles on a range of literary topics including music in the life and work of Jane Austen. In 2005 she co-edited Matthew Flinders’ Private Journal and in 2014 she published an edition of the correspondence between Iris Murdoch and the Australian radical philosopher Brian Medlin. She has been a regular reviewer for ABR since 2002. She is founding editor of the online journals Transnational Literature and Writers in Conversation.

Published in February 2012 no. 338

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