A Million Windows PDF/EPUB Þ A Million Epub /

A Million Windows A kaleidoscopic meditation on fiction making by one of Australia s most acclaimed writers The house of fiction, wrote Henry James, has not one window, but a million In this, his latest work, Gerald Murnane, one of Australia s most acclaimed contemporary authors, takes these words as his starting point, and asks Who, exactly, are that house s residents, and what do they see from their respective rooms His answer, A Million Windows, is a gorgeous if unsettling investigation into the glories and pitfalls of storytelling Focusing on the importance of trust and the inevitability of betrayal in writing as in life, its nested stories explore the fraught relationships between author and reader, child and parent, boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife Murnane s fiction is woven from images the reflections of the setting sun on distant windowpanes, seemingly limitless grasslands, a procession of dark haired women, a clearing in a forest, the colors indigo and silver grey, and the mysterious death of a young woman which build to an emotional crescendo that is all the powerful for the intricacy of its patterning A Million Windows could be a culmination of a life s work, a retreading through past compositions, tried and true ideas, and a useful handbook for all writers of fiction Problem for me is, the work was boring After being blissfully exposed to Murnane masterpieces such as The Plains and Landscape with Landscape it is difficult to see the point in reading something inferior to his previous efforts Often in this book Murnane s tone was one of knowing better, the narrator being an accomplished el A Million Windows could be a culmination of a life s work, a retreading through past compositions, tried and true ideas, and a useful handbook for all writers of fiction Problem for me is, the work was boring After being blissfully exposed to Murnane masterpieces such as The Plains and Landscape with Landscape it is difficult to see the point in reading something inferior to his previous efforts Often in this book Murnane s tone was one of knowing better, the narrator being an accomplished elder literary man teaching the young novice a thing or two about writing fiction Better to read a second time both Barley Patch and Inland and have the experience again of being in the presence of something novel I ve waited after reading to come up to this novel to be able to review it So easy to say that I, Cannot do it justice The temptation is there but it isn t that simple The work is beyond, not what I can think but what I can grasp Indeed, this is a large part of what the book is about I have traveled through and resided in the land of Murnania having read a few of his works which certainly does not leave me an expert However, it does give me a sense that, The Millions, is the culmination I ve waited after reading to come up to this novel to be able to review it So easy to say that I, Cannot do it justice The temptation is there but it isn t that simple The work is beyond, not what I can think but what I can grasp Indeed, this is a large part of what the book is about I have traveled through and resided in the land of Murnania having read a few of his works which certainly does not leave me an expert However, it does give me a sense that, The Millions, is the culmination of his many years of writing, of thinking, of living It is the most relevant text I have read This does not mean, that in his enigmatic style, it is a great work of art according to the cartography of literary spells What it has meant to me is a guide to the thinking of truth and understanding my choices and decisions Some of which may have already been rendered by an internal cavalcade of attorneys, jurors, and judges without my knowing Societies robed consorts lined up against the world of my mind with its hazy aperture and gauzed apparitions.Moving through the many hallways, corridors, wings of Murnane s two or three story house, we pass by windowed rooms He recalls a castle where a film maker has placed each of his characters from his career in a window Murnane s two or three story house is of a million windows, taken from a Henry James quote, The house of fiction has in short not one window, but a millionA room is lit and at a desk by the light a writer, writes He is an author of personages which exist within their own realm and proceed through the writing of their own accord The single holland blind in his room was still drawn down in late afternoon although he would have got out of his bed and would have washed and dressed at first light At this moment when he became a personage in this work of fiction, I supposed him to be seated at his small desk with his back to the glowing blind and to be reading, by the light of a desk lamp, a sentence that he had written, perhaps only a few minutes earlier, at the head of a blank page The author no longer believes he is telling the story but it is the narrator The narrator being also a personage, a personage within the story of personages P.78 The narrator rails against a narrator s of close 3rd person seeing only out of the main characters eyes Yet, he being only a fictional personage in this text allows us therefore to see only through his eyes Who is he The author Like others he she is a Fictional Personage The narrator does not sound nor seem lonely Rather, she he seems content, possibly preferring their world to be filled with such personages who exhibit a very perceptible life of their own existence The visible world with its complications and disappointments, its aim for the necessities of survival do not measure up Although agreed upon as the back slapping confines of, Reality, it is thin and uni dimensional.His two or is it three story house, because how can one be sure, is stocked by the windows of the writer s own personages When we look at this story it is readily apparent that we live within a world composed and narrated by an indecisive narrator Well she he should be The visible world is flossing and tooth brushing filled with people we create, an image in our mind, at times an image of an image The characters in what Murnane calls the visible world VW are flat lacking consciousness as are actors in a film, who are performing a role or persona imagined by a writer similar to Mann s problem with film in the Magic Mountain leaving the watcher two layers away from In film there is but room for the screenwriter s imagination, the actors interpretation, but no room for the watcher to slip in and participate This is compared to the personages in the invisible world IW These personages exist, so shows the narrator of Murnane s text we are reading which Murnane reminds us is a piece of fiction in and of itself These personages are known at a depth only sought but rarely if ever perceived in the VW Murnane is quite clear he prefers the IW This is where meaning resides Not in the flesh and blood The IW is seen through the eyes of an unreliable narrator, a world constituted of, as ifs and may bes They are possibilities that writers of true fiction allow for the reader another personage to slip into There characters and stories not only continue on past the end of the text but thrive in relationship to the true reader.These writers existing behind the windows of the two story or possibly three story house, are of different types some trying to calculate their fiction to be as close to a replica of the VW as possible, others dealing in allusions, symbols, metaphors, in mysteries, etc By following the corridors and peeking into the rooms the narrator s journey as a writer over the years can be mapped out Though these writers generally keep separate at times they do meet, discussing writing, fiction, authors of old Henry James moving toward and attempting to arrive at true writing which will engage a true reader However, it is important to remember the narrator in this work of fiction is a personage relaying the tale of personages under the pen of the author himself Yet Murnane is a personage to each of us We don t know him but for only what we have heard or read At the end the narrator stands before the large house looking up at the author s window He learns nothing as though something could be learned from the flesh and blood writer.What it come down to is that many consider the flesh and blood visible world to be sacrosanct when the reality of this reality is that it can only be constituted of fictions we tell ourselves This visible world is necessary for survival but does not have to be considered beyond that We know or have the opportunity to know landscapes, people, in literature that reside in the invisible world We participate in their coming about and their existence We sense a soul by what is not said as much if notthan what is This is a world dense with meaning and offers a life of meaning, therefore a life of maybes, possibilities We all have a choice A vital choice Make of it what you will, but though not ordered as such the book came in a large print edition The words huge The pages tall Precise and carefully constructed An entirely pleasurable and stimulating reading experience One of the best books I have read in quite some time. To ask of fiction that it tell us about the world, I can t help but think, is to sell fiction short Fiction, surely, tells usAbout the universe, say Or better, about life And not just human life, though lacking another shape to adopt fiction s characters may appear as human they needn t though, not at all Apparently I started something when I read Barley Patch last year in the past month or two I ve read Invisible But Enduring Lilacs and A Million Windows and I ve just picked up A H To ask of fiction that it tell us about the world, I can t help but think, is to sell fiction short Fiction, surely, tells usAbout the universe, say Or better, about life And not just human life, though lacking another shape to adopt fiction s characters may appear as human they needn t though, not at all Apparently I started something when I read Barley Patch last year in the past month or two I ve read Invisible But Enduring Lilacs and A Million Windows and I ve just picked up A History of Books All of these are works from Murnane s late period , written after he gave up fiction writing for eight years following an aborted draft for a long book which was to have followed Inland, and all mine the same theme with variations, the core of which could be said to be the interplay of memory, reading and writing fiction A Million Windows, the latest, is, to my mind, the culmination A manifesto, but at times a baffling one, both tantalising and frustrating, apt to break off at the threshold of its seeming complete, as if it were nothan common sense for the discerning reader a favourite phrase of Murnane s to piece together the remainder But that s not to criticise the prose itself, which, I m tempted to say, is just about as clear as prose can be After all, it s a hard task he s set himself, this explication of what makes a narrator strong in the Murnanian sense by a we hope Murnanian strong narrator And in at least one important respect, Murnane and I concur almost completely I have sometimes tried to explain what I consider a widespread confusion about the nature of fictional personages.Forget, for now, that as Murnane ensures us the I of this passage is himself a fictional personage in any case Murnane also ensures us he s most likely reliable Murnane being unable, in most if not all cases, to abide unreliable narrators, or narrators whom he describes as having acted in bad faith or was it their authors who acted thus I forget In any case neither Murnane nor his narrators, we suspect, are likely to repeat this so called mistake The point is he means it, I m certain Get this Rather than struggling to write about her, he is mostly content to accept her existence as incontrovertible proof that the reading and the writing of fiction are muchthan a mere transaction during which one person causes another person to see in mind a sort of shadowy film that the whole enterprise of fiction exists mostly to enable her and numerous others of her kind to flit from place to place in mind after mind as though many a fictional text is a mere bridge or stairway raised for their convenience of travel.Now if that isn t the most beautiful image and concept I ve read or heard of in the past months I don t know what is And Murnane s is, surely, the most singleminded attempt to allow this travel by fictional personages to occur with minimal interruption, so much so that for its sake he s happy to disrupt any and every apparent through line which might have otherwise aided the reader in her or his effort to appreciate the text Images or potential plot points which in another work might have borne scrutiny are here often ignored, while scenes and images which seem to do nothingthan note a character s or fictional personage s passing are returned to repeatedly At times the structure Murnane hangs it all upon seems close to arbitrary, and Murnane or his narrator himself comments as if ironically on the structural notes he has beside him as he writes, having forgotten the import or intention of certain sections and instead leaving it to chance to dictate where he turns next, but always with that goal of facilitating his mysterious creatures entities in their travel via his work to wherever it is they re going.As I read A Million Windows carefully, in blocks of ten or so pages, with time to reflect on each I became certain that Gerald Murnane is a unique genius, with all of the positive and negative implications that the word genius implies He if he s anything like his narrators is opinionated, and narrow in his tastes, and defensive of a stance which can hardly have helped his popularity or his critical cache, deriding as it does all social or political novels, seemingly all contemporary realist novels, and in fact even what he calls self aware fiction , a term which he claims, bizarrely, does not apply to his fiction But for me, the self awareness in Murnane s work is like nectar gold I flip through the book to find passages on this or that aspect of writing, then turn back and read the slightlytraditionally fictional passages associated with them On the rare occasions when we discuss authors such as Charles Dickens, we seem to agree that we lack for something that writers of fiction seemed formerly to possess And yet, if we have lost something, so to speak, we have also gained something We may be unable to exercise over our fictional personages the sort of control that Dickens and others exercised over their characters, but we are able to turn that same lack of control to our advantage and to learn from our own subject matter, so to call it, in somewhat the same way that our readers are presumed to learn from our writing The matters at issue were as follows could the writer predict with certainty how the personage was about to behave and, if not, could the personage be said to stand, in relation to the writer, in any way differently from some or another man or woman in the building where the writer sat writing For me, this is a hard book to review, partly because for all that I love about it, I find something in Murnane s aesthetic dour This video may help clarify a little Will you look at the place he writes in And that voice He could just about be much reviled ex Australian Prime Minister John Howard But then, that s the beauty of his style, especially as it matures, that it becomes so shorn of adornment that such considerations hardly matter And when he gets on a roll as he does here about page 116, where he relates the secondhand story of a hobo and the dog which befriended him the results are genuinely moving, uncanny, and shot through with that glow of the otherworldly that accounts for so much of my pleasure in reading The train slowed the man saw an open door the man ran beside the train the man clambered aboard As soon as he was securely aboard, the man looked for the dog He saw it keeping pace with the train and looking up at him The dog was able to keep pace with the train for as long as it climbed the low hill, but when the train passed the hill, the dog began to fall behind The man lay in the doorway of the freight van and watched the dog falling further behind The man later wrote in his autobiography that he had recalled often during the remainder of his life his sight of the dog while it tried to keep pace with the train He had recalled in particular his sight of the nearer eye of the dog while it tried to keep pace The eye had seemed to be turned sideways and upwards, or so he had thought, as though the dog had struggled, before it lost sight for ever of the only person who had fed it or treated it less than harshly, to fix in mind an image of that person.Of course, for a writer who purports to write about the travel of fictional beings, the recurrent descriptions of trains in this work are not coincidental Nor the butterfly alighting on Machado de Assis s desk or flying from one side of Casterbridge to another The best and most thrilling part of Murnane s project is that he s alive to the mystery the shape shifting ghostlikeness of his creatures When last year I reviewed Barley Patch I compared him to Beckett, and again that comparison springs to mind Compared to Beckett s late period, Murnane s is scarcely less focussed, and will, I m sure, admit of less and less intrusions as it proceeds If you re thinking of reading the guy, A Million Windows, I think, is the place to start

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top