peteg's blog - noise - books - 2012 10 26 Bail TheVoyage

Murray Bail: The Voyage

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A review by Andrew Reimer in the Smage woke me up to Murray Bail's latest novel. This one comes hot on the heels of The Pages, barely four years previous, and features a much stronger structure. Frank Delage stands in for all Australian inventors looking to enter foreign markets when he takes his innovative piano to Vienna. Beyond the artifice of his meeting Amalia von Schalla, wife of a wealthy industralist, Bail offers up a string of ruminations on stagnation, relations between men and women, the old world and the new, and not getting what you want but something else, quite distinct and possibly more valuable. I enjoyed how Bail silently moved between the parallel tracks of the story, of Delage's time in Vienna and the voyage on the container ship through the Suez, Malacca Straits and other markers of the now-unfamiliar sea lanes. The shipborne Dutchman minded me of Dijkstra, long on the terminal pronouncement.