All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Death Of Noah Glass by Gail Jones

on March 8, 2019

The Death Of Noah Glass
Gail Jones
Text Publishing
2018, 320p
Read from my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The art historian Noah Glass, having just returned from a trip to Sicily, is discovered floating face down in the swimming pool at his Sydney apartment block. His adult children, Martin and Evie, must come to terms with the shock of their father’s death. But a sculpture has gone missing from a museum in Palermo, and Noah is a suspect. The police are investigating.

None of it makes any sense. Martin sets off to Palermo in search of answers about his father’s activities, while Evie moves into Noah’s apartment, waiting to learn where her life might take her. Retracing their father’s steps in their own way, neither of his children can see the path ahead.

Gail Jones’s mesmerising new novel tells a story about parents and children, and explores the overlapping patterns that life makes. The Death of Noah Glass is about love and art, about grief and happiness, about memory and the mystery of time.

Today is International Women’s Day and also the day where the Stella Prize Shortlist will be announced. Checking in, I’ve read six of the longlist with another 2 in my possession to read. Another is on request at my library but I have to wait my turn and the other 3 I can’t seem to access. Watch those 3 make the shortlist this afternoon!

To be honest I probably wouldn’t have been interested in reading this if it hadn’t made the longlist and I’d made the decision to try and read as much of the longlist as I could. It’s not something I’d probably be interested in but sometimes you have to take the plunge and try something new. There’s plenty of times where that works out and you find something new to love and things that you like that you didn’t know existed.

I won’t say that precisely happened for me with this book. I started it when I really just wanted to get back to reading something else and I gave it 100p to grab me. I got to the 100p and it was just okay. I didn’t hate it but I wasn’t loving it however it was enough for me to keep pushing through to finish it.

The book begins with the funeral of Noah Glass, who was found facedown in the pool of his apartment complex, having suffered a heart attack. The coroner has ruled it natural causes and now his two children, Martin and Evie, attend his funeral in Sydney. Martin lives in the city but Evie has made the trip from Melbourne. The two siblings are surprised when Martin receives a phone call from a local detective, asking them to pop in. Apparently during a trip to Sicily that Noah made just prior to his death, he’s somehow managed to get caught up in some sort of art heist and is a potential suspect. Martin finds himself travelling to Sicily himself, looking for answers to half-there questions.

Some aspects of this I enjoyed. To be honest I wasn’t at all into the art theft (or whether or not there was an art theft and if so why and what happened) but I did like Martin’s trip to Sicily and his attempts to find out what had happened. It’s not the easiest of investigations and Martin really has no idea what he’s doing and seems to be getting played at every turn. I also really enjoyed the story of Noah’s upbringing (his father was a doctor in a leprosy community in Western Australia) and his marriage to Martin and Evie’s mother and the children’s upbringing. Martin and Evie also had quite a complex sibling relationship and this was well portrayed.

But I think because I wasn’t particularly interested in Noah’s movements in Italy and what had happened there, nor was I particularly interested in the job Evie gets in Sydney, I didn’t love this book. I didn’t really connect with the story and it seemed like just when I was feeling a flicker of interest in a thread, it was gone and we’d moved onto something else. I don’t know anything about art and I really don’t care to know anything about art to be honest. I’m not interested in painters or sculptors and what techniques they used or how this defines this particular art movement or style or whatever. I felt the most interesting part of the novel was Martin and Evie’s sibling relationship but they were wrenched apart when Martin decided to travel to Italy and Evie chose to remain behind. They are reunited later in the novel but it all felt a bit too late for anything else to really happen. Also….the ending really left me feeling a bit disappointed. It felt anticlimactic and a bit slapdash and I found myself thinking ‘is that it’? Which is never really a positive. I think I was expecting a bit more of a mystery thread/storyline. It’s such a quiet book that I often found my attention drifting a bit.

Some lovely writing (particularly about Martin and Evie) but unfortunately that wasn’t really enough for me. It was just okay.


Book #42 of 2019

The Death Of Noah Glass is book #20 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2019


2 responses to “Review: The Death Of Noah Glass by Gail Jones

  1. Why do you think it was nominated? Is there any overall theme to it? Sometimes I just don’t understand prize nominations.

  2. […] The Death Of Noah Glass by Gail Jones. My review. […]

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