Είμαστε ιδιαίτερα χαρούμενοι που το αγαπημένο μας New Yorker προτείνει με τόσο καλά λόγια το εξαιρετικό μυθιστόρημα της Elisabeth Harrower, In Certain Circles, το οποίο εκπροσωπούμε στην Ελλάδα μέσω του αυστραλιανού οίκου Text Publishing.
Σύμφωνα με τον κριτικό του New Yorker, James Wood, το έργο της Harrower είναι η μεγάλη ανακάλυψη του 2014:
“For me, the great discovery of 2014 was the work of Elizabeth Harrower, an eighty-six-year-old Australian novelist who lives quietly in Sydney, and who has not published a novel since the nineteen-sixties. Her Australian publishers, Text, have been magnificently persistent in their advocacy of her work—chiefly, persuading Harrower to allow them to publish her fifth and last novel, “In Certain Circles” (Text), which she abruptly withdrew on the eve of its publication in 1971. “In Certain Circles,” which appeared this year in the U.S., is a polished, funny, bleak novel about the subject that has continuously obsessed Harrower: the relations between men and women, specifically the dynamics of power at play in those relations in an era of sanctioned sexism.
“In Certain Circles” tells the story of a failed marriage—between a spirited, privileged young Sydney socialite, and her bitter, much less privileged husband. Around this sad, quarrelling couple move a group of friends and siblings, all of whom are struggling, in their various ways, to answer the question made proverbial by a much younger contemporary writer: How should a person be? In fact, Harrower may be a little darker than this; her version of Sheila Heti’s question is closer to: How might I go on living? What are the sources of happiness? Her characters (usually female) are frequently assailed by daunting forces—horrible men, all too often; but also self-doubt, faint-heartedness, conventionality, and the limitations of bourgeois Australian society during the fifties and sixties. If Harrower’s heroines never quite grasp power, they do at least glimpse the truth. And that truth is fierce and uncompromising: “We never understand how little time there is. This is what you want to say to people—that there’s no time for lies.” I can’t recommend this brilliant, austere writer strongly enough; reading her work was like discovering some long lost sister of Muriel Spark’s. Like Spark, Harrower is funny and elegant and devastating. How can you not like a novelist whose sentences are on the order of these? “She was like a park that had never once removed its Don’t Walk on the Grass signs.” Or: “Yet really, apart from the sense of irretrievable loss, there was nothing wrong at all.” But she is more passionate than Spark, more anguished, less cool. Her best novel is probably “The Watch Tower” (1966), but “The Long Prospect” (1958) is also superb, and very moving. And no one should miss “In Certain Circles”—the novel, were it not for Michael Heywood and Penny Hueston, at Text, we might never have had the chance to read.”