The Art of Navigation by Rose Michael

Reviewed by
January–February 2018, no. 398
Lisa Bennett reviews 'The Art of Navigation' by Rose Michael

The Art of Navigation

by Rose Michael

UWA Publishing, $24.99 pb, 247 pp, 9781742589213

The Art of Navigation by Rose Michael

Reviewed by
January–February 2018, no. 398

Conceptually, The Art of Navigation is as intriguing as it is ambitious. The narrative is part near-future time travel, part historical drama, part nostalgic Australian Gothic – and all slipstream fiction. The novel braids, unbraids, and rebraids three main threads of time and place: suburban Melbourne in 1987; the royal courts of Elizabeth I and Rudolph II in 1587; and the outskirts of a new, not-quite-Melbourne in 2087. Yet there is practically nothing simple about this book – not the style or structure, nor the way it resolves. This complexity is both the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of slipstream stories. Slipstream fiction is difficult to process; it’s demanding, often frustrating. It functions because it is strange, because it estranges. Readers are not made welcome, not offered clear or complete pictures, but are instead asked to decipher dream-like visions glimpsed sideways through a warped scrying glass.

Lisa Bennett reviews 'The Art of Navigation' by Rose Michael

The Art of Navigation

by Rose Michael

UWA Publishing, $24.99 pb, 247 pp, 9781742589213

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