At the Edge of the Solid World
Brio, $32.99 pb, 478 pp
‘Every last word that follows from here is a word I have tortured out of myself. If what I have written sometimes warbles towards the inarticulate, that is the price exacted by torture and the price of articulating ... at all.’ So warns the narrator of Daniel Davis Wood’s first novel, Blood and Bone (2014). He may well be describing Davis Wood’s second novel, At the Edge of the Solid World, which is, above all, deliberate. Davis Wood has written precisely the book he meant to write.
The story concerns the aftermath of the death of a man’s firstborn. In the throes of grief, insomnia, and a destructive impulse, he becomes estranged from his wife in their home in Switzerland. Meanwhile, he becomes fixated on the details of a violent crime in his homeland of Australia, identifying in turns with its victims and its perpetrator.