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Any discussion of Border Districts, like much of Gerald Murnane’s work before it, is inevitably wrapped up in the known interests of the author. The unnamed narrator in the novel tasks himself to report on a liminal space, one that gains significance in a less geographical sense than that land made by thoughts appended to paper. The recurrence of colour, horseracing, religion and education are like so many corks on a tide, retreating and returning by the inescapable gravity of the author’s career-long interest. Such is the beautifully circular logic of Murnane’s rhythmic syntax that the reader is happy to be caught in its current, and measures time according to its slower pulse.
Murnane’s fastidiousness, his determination to integrate both his past and the purpose of writing, make him one of the most significant authors this country has produced. If, as Murnane has said, Border Districts is indeed his last work of fiction it is a fitting full stop to a particular view made large by the scrupulousness of the author’s astonishing talent.