Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 18, 2018

The Word, by William Lane (and a giveaway)

William Lane is the author of three previous novels, Over the Water, The Horses and The Salamanders, and by some lucky chance I have an extra copy of his new novel The Word for a giveaway.  Here is the blurb:

William ‘s Lane’s disarming new novel, The Word, brilliantly satirises the ways in which we use language to define our lives. Kenric is an oddball advertising eccentric who possesses an unusual gift for language. The brands he names, sell. Yet he comes to believe advertising uses language too cynically. He is inspired by Maria to abandon the corporate world and establish a small residential community called The Word. The idealistic community relocates from Pittwater to a warehouse in industrial Mount Druitt, gathering about it others concerned with the misuse of language.
The Word is both a charming ensemble piece of unforgettable characters, and an astute and humorous exploration of the ways in which language beguiles and creates connections, but also misleads. Lane understands the human tendency to seek answers and directions in the unlikeliest of individuals but is happy to show us the folly of doing so. As such the novel parallels current world trends while evoking with candour Sydney’s watery beauty and suburban harshness.

You know the rules.  The giveaway is open to anyone with an Australian postcode.  Express your interest in the comments below, and at the end of the week I’ll do the draw using a random number generator.  If you win, you must provide me with the mailing address by the date specified in the post announcing the winner, and if you don’t do it in time I’ll redraw.

Ok, so now to the book…

The Word seems very apt for our times.  It’s a novel of disillusionment.

The central character Kenric is an advertising man, but not like the smart, shallow types usually portrayed in fiction and film.  He is a man who loves words, and his gift is that he’s brilliant at coming up with one-word names for products that then become bestsellers and often iconic products as well.  (Like the adman who came up with the word Vegemite, I guess, or Dove, or Rinso).  But Kenric is quiet and unassuming and takes a lot of time doing quiet thinking before his genius comes into play, so of course he is vulnerable when a dynamic New Broom called Quick takes over the advertising agency.  The reader can see between the lines when Quick starts spouting corporate management rubbish at Kenric, but Kenric doesn’t see what’s coming.

Kenric has a depressing marriage with Janis, whose desire for human company breaks into his musings on The Word, so it’s not surprising when he leaves to set up a bizarre community in a grotty warehouse in Sydney.  Unlike the cults and hippie communities which it mocks, their group (which is called ‘The Word’) is devoted to exploring how words work.  They have sessions on grammar, the Greek and Latin roots of words, and even ‘tongue’talking’ which is like so-called speaking in tongues, i.e. it’s gibberish yet they conjure meaning out of it.

But humans being what they are, it doesn’t take long for the community to fracture.  The men vie for sexual favours, and the women complain because they get left with the unappreciated cooking and the washing up. Some people are there not because they are devoted to words but because they are escapees, from life or from the law.  The warehouse is about as far as one can imagine from the idyllic images of rural communes, and their leader is an abject failure at being charismatic, because he likes nothing better than silence in which to think.  And in a talkative word, that’s doomed to failure.

The power of words, in this community founded on an ideal, is soon exposed more often than not as a cruel weapon.

Peter Lo did the brilliant cover design.


Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for your own copy!

Author: William Lane
Title: The Word
Publisher: Transit Lounge, 2018, 239pp
ISBN: 9781925760088
Review and giveaway copies courtesy of Transit Lounge

Available from Fishpond The Word and direct from Transit Lounge


  1. Sounds like a fun read. I’d love to be in the draw for a copy! Thanks Lisa.


  2. Bill is a pal of mine & I love his books – I’d love to be in the draw! Thanks, Lisa :)


  3. Sounds like an unusual book. I am keen to read it. Thank you!


  4. Good luck Theresa, Jess and Agnes, you are no’s 1,2, &3!


  5. I like the sound of this one and, I am in Oz at the moment!


  6. Hi, I would love to be in the draw. Thanks for the review.


  7. Me too please.


  8. Good luck Glenda, Cherie and Fay, you are no’s 4,5,& 6 :)


  9. I know I can’t enter but just wanted to say that I love the sound of this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


  10. Me too please. I enjoyed The salamanders. Intriguing book. From Pittwater to Mr Druitt. Now there’s a change. And what a cover, eh?


    • Hi Lisa … actually, take me off. I have so much to read, much as I’d enjoy this. Let someone else have a chance to win!


  11. Remember John Howard’s new word: incentivation. I wonder what happened to the staffer who thought up that. The real question is do we buy the name or the product.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, look at the way go silly over the latest iPhone releases. It’s bizarre/


  12. You and I and I suspect, William Lane, are more interested in words than in marketing. The idea behind this book seems to be that a word will make us buy something, but in fact it is the Brand that makes us buy and the Name, which could be anything, is just there to carry the Brand. I say that and then in putting my workclothes in the washing machine see that my washing powder is called Earth, and that I bought it for no other reason than the name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *chuckle*
      Yes, we’ve got products like that in our laundry too.
      And why did I buy a Mazda? Because I like to zoom-zoom!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Very interested in reading this book – please include me in the draw!


    • Hello Mandy, welcome, and good luck!
      I plan to tweet about the draw one more time tomorrow and then I’ll draw it in the evening.


  14. Thanks Lisa. Great cover art and I would love an opportunity to read this novel.


  15. […] of four previous novels, Over the Water (2014), The Horses (2015), The Salamanders, (2016) and The Word (2018). (Links are to my reviews).  What I like about his novels is that they are all entirely […]


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