Allen & Unwin
wrote a review on my blog of this title. I was so taken by her review that I decided I should read the book for myself.
I have just put it down having read it in two long sittings and I have to say I feel quite stunned. In the inside cover flap the publisher suggests that Lovesong is "a pitch-perfect novel, a tender and enthralling story about the intimate lives of ordinary people". I couldn't agree more and I am not at all surprised that itis one of the twelve novels long-listed for the 2010 Miles Franklin Award. It is quite simply an outstanding piece of fiction and I loved it.
Most interestingly Lovesong is a novel born out of Miller’s own experiences living as a writer in Paris in the 1970s. After a year, he came back to Melbourne to sell his house with the intention of moving to Paris permanently. But when he got home, he met a young woman and they fell in love. She is now the mother of his children and they are still together.
In Lovesong, Miller gives his main protagonist, Australian John Patterner, the reverse of his own story. John stays and lives a life in Paris after falling in love. Their meeting was pure chance; John is in Paris to visit the famous cathedrals at Chartres, but catches the wrong train and finds himself in the shabby suburb of Vaugirard, known for its working abattoirs. When a sudden storm hits, he seeks shelter in the café Chez Dom, and falls in love with the beautiful young Tunisian waitress, Sabiha.
But there is another story. Melbourne novelist Ken is trying to retire and lives with his 38-year-old daughter.
While he is away in Venice, Sabiha’s pastry shop has opened in his neighbourhood in Carlton. When he goes in, Ken is at once intrigued by Sabiha’s beauty and the sorrow he sees in her eyes. He wonders what is the cause of this sorrow and listens willingly to their story as John unburdens himself. And what a beautifully told stroy it proves to be.
About the author:
The winner will be announced on June 22.