A First Place
Knopf, $29.99 hb, 362 pp, 9780857984050
Some obsessions, present from the start, infiltrate a writer’s pages to the degree that they become synonymous with his body of work. This reaches beyond preoccupation and setting to include matters of style and sensibility. Such a combination allows the reader to discern, often in the space of a single sentence, one writer’s DNA from another’s. We return to certain writers to witness what new insights they reveal, however old their investigations. For more than four decades, readers have returned to David Malouf because we know that his searches, whether in poetry or prose, always proceed with delicate precision, wonder, and a beguiling intelligence whose charge we feel in every line.