Robert Dessaix's Memoir

Robert Dessaix's Memoir

What Days Are For

by Robert Dessaix

Knopf, $29.99 hb, 231 pp, 9780857985767

Delia Falconer

Delia Falconer

Delia Falconer is the author of two novels: The Service of Clouds (1997) and The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers (2005).


By this contributor

Robert Dessaix’s authorial voice reminds me of Christina Stead’s description of a small, clear wave running up a beach at low tide, playfully ‘ringing its air-bells’. He is not a writer of direct, declarative prose. Instead, Dessaix specialises in sentences that skip over and around their subjects, sometimes darting nimbly into brackets to investigate a second (or a third) thought, or diverging into a set of questions. Caressing and impeccable, his is a very particular voice, moving lightly across the page, though it could not be called superficial. If it sometimes takes a little too much pleasure in its own charms, it is, at the same time, sceptical and self-aware.

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Published in December 2014, no. 367