Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 13, 2011

Sensational Snippets: Dissection (2008), by Jacinta Halloran

DissectionThis is a stunning debut novel by Melbourne GP Jacinta Halloran.  She writes beautifully, with crisp and sensual precision:

A negligence suit.  She wears one now: a cheap suit that chafes and itches, one that is not easily removed, even after hours. A suit of sackcloth and ashes.  Would that her penance be only this, but she knows there is more to come.

Dissection,  p17.

She shakes herself awake, out of her reverie.  She has always been prone to reflection on days such as this – the autumn sunshine, the sky, at late morning, cloudless and blue, yet the air still cool.  Autumn is always a time for reflection.  A gentle southerly breeze wafts perfectly, so that as she lowers the window she feels the cool air on her face, curing her drowsiness but leaving her feeling as if she has just woken from a deep sleep, unsure of her surroundings.  It is this street, too, that has set her thinking: this tram-tracked street of Victorian terraces and  lush front gardens where palms sway stiffly and red begonias bloom on upstairs balconies; where, around the corner at an expensive café opposite the gardens, she will soon sit and drink coffee while she skims the Saturday newspapers.  This understated wealth, the gentility of this suburb unsettles her so that she begins of think of choices and consequences, of having and forgoing, of never wanting in the first place, but, perhaps later, when looking at the red flowers on an upstairs balcony, of coming to regret one’s youthful resolve.

Dissection, by Jacinta Halloran, Scribe 2008,  p71

See my review


Fishpond: Dissection


  1. I loved this book and am waiting for her next. Any idea what and if she is still writing Lisa? It was a book I felt did not get the publicity it deserved. The flawed narrator had me in her grasp and I was surprised at the outcomes. Very well done that book!


    • I haven’t heard anything Chris, but I live in hope. I agree, this was a book that deserved more attention. There are so many books out there and sometimes a really good one gets lost in the swamp.


  2. […] (2008) in a bookshop.  I thought it was an outstanding novel (see my review and a Sensational Snippet) so I was prepared to be perhaps disappointed by the follow-up, but Pilgrimage (2012) turned out to […]


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