Seven and a Half by Christos Tsiolkas
Art is not only about rage and justice and politics. It is also about pleasure and joy; it is also about beauty…
In a time of rage and confusion, I wanted to write about beauty.
Winner of the 2021 Melbourne Prize for Literature
A man arrives at a house on the coast to write a book. Separated from his lover and family and friends, he finds the solitude he craves in the pyrotechnic beauty of nature, just as the world he has shut out is experiencing a cataclysmic shift. The preoccupations that have galvanised him and his work fall away, and he becomes lost in memory and beauty …
He also begins to tell us a story …
A retired porn star is made an offer he can’t refuse for the sake of his family and future. So he returns to the world he fled years before, all too aware of the danger of opening the door to past temptations and long-buried desires. Can he resist the oblivion and bliss they promise?
A breathtakingly audacious novel by the acclaimed author of The Slap and Damascus about finding joy and beauty in a raging and punitive world, about the refractions of memory and time and, most subversive of all, about the mystery of art and its creation.
Praise for Damascus:
‘Visceral, muscular and relentless…A powerful parable of our times.’ – The Saturday Paper
‘Every time I was 10 pages in a new book, I thought, ‘It’s not Damascus’, and put it aside for another day…What struck me, with incredible power, was how Tsiolkas renders as ordinary people the names we know as gods, saints, demons, provocateurs, persecutors and protectors.’ – Stephen Romei, The Australian
‘A brutal but riveting read, created by one of Australia’s greatest literary talents.’ – The Age
‘Damascus is ambitious…dripping with blood and sweat and reek of humanity, such is the violence and poverty of the era, which Tsiolkas skilfully and vividly renders.’ – The Weekly Times
‘A narrative of shock and awe, fear and trembling, so large in ambition it will probably be the book for which [Tsiolkas] is best remembered.’ – Geordie Williamson, The Weekend Australian