Stephen Orr is the masterful author of Time’s Long Ruin which was longlisted for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award and now I am enjoying his latest novel, Dissonance.
This excerpt is from the opening chapter:
Here is a house – stone, square and simple – sitting towards the front of a paddock along God’s Hill Road. The paddock is enclosed by a fence of rotten redwood posts – some still standing, some fallen, some held in place by rusted wire that is partly taut, partly tangled through wild ryegrass and thistles as tall as a Bösendorfer piano.
In the days before Joseph Hergert bought the property at a bankrupt sale it had been covered in vines – but now these were dead, or wild, trained along more rusted wire that ran between more rotten stumps of redwood. Still, every year there were some grapes, ripening through summer, eaten out by birds, shrivelling, dropping, waiting for the rats, rabbits and foxes that were the only livestock on Killalah. The shiraz vines were as old as Henschke’s, as thick as telegraph poles around the base, as virile as lantana, drawing nutrients from the near-perfect soil, feeding leaves that were as green as the Hi-Gloss on Nev Scholz’s seeder – destined to drop in May each year and feed the fat-hen and Salvation Jane of another wasted vintage.
There was music coming from the front room of the house. It was sucked out of an open window, stirred up and filtered by grey lace curtains that fluttered like a flag on a cold Anzac morning.
Hooked? So was I.
Dissonance is a re-imagining of the ‘Frankfurt years’ of Percy Grainger and his mother Rose. Obsession and possession…
Author: Stephen Orr
Publisher: Wakefield Press 2012
Source: Review copy courtesy of Wakefield Press