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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Stream System

Stream System

The Collected Short Fiction of Gerald Murnane

Gerald Murnane

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Stories from a mind-bending Australian master, “a genius on the level of Beckett” (Teju Cole)

Never before available to readers in this hemisphere, these stories—originally published from 1985 to 2012—offer an irresistible compendium of the work of one of contemporary fiction’s greatest magicians.

While the Australian master Gerald Murnane’s reputation rests largely on his longer works of fiction, his short stories stand among the most brilliant and idiosyncratic uses of the form since Borges, Beckett, and Nabokov. Brutal, comic, obscene, and crystalline, Stream System runs from the haunting “Land Deal,” which imagines the colonization of Australia and the ultimate vengeance of its indigenous people as a series of nested dreams; to “Finger Web,” which tells a quietly terrifying, fractal tale of the scars of war and the roots of misogyny; to “The Interior of Gaaldine,” which finds its anxious protagonist stranded beyond the limits of fiction itself.

No one else writes like Murnane, and there are few other authors alive still capable of changing how—and why—we read.

Praise for Stream System

"This impressive collection represents a monumental achievement from one of Australia’s most important writers. Murnane is often categorized as a 'writer’s writer' for his tendency to unspool long descriptions and focus his narratives on fiction writers strikingly similar to himself. Almost all of the stories in this book are set in a suburb of Melbourne and in some way involve the impact of memory, horse racing, or Catholicism. Of the 21 stories collected here, 'Emerald Blue' is the longest. In it, 'the chief character' of the story is a man who can only fall in love with the image of a woman in his mind, despite his many attempts to shun bachelorhood. In 'The Boy’s Name Was David,' Murnane writes of a part-time writing professor who looks back on all the students’ stories he has ever read and imagines his competitive students as horses in one long race. Virtually all of Murnane’s stories also illustrate some aspect of his beliefs about the nature and value of fiction itself. Murnane is an accomplished master, and this collection is a vital resource for writing that probes the mind with ceaseless inquiry." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Gerald Murnane

Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. One of Australia’s most highly regarded authors, he has published ten volumes of fiction, including Barley Patch, The Plains, and A Million Windows, as well a collection of essays, Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs, and a memoir, Something for the Pain. He is a recipient of the Patrick White Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature, and an Emeritus Fellowship from the Literature Board of the Australia Council. He lives in Victoria, Australia.

image of Gerald Murnaneo
Ian H. Hill

Gerald Murnane

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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