Review: Gail Jones’ “Five Bells”

by writereaderly

gail jones five bellsFour main characters out and about in Circular Quay, Sydney. One glorious January day during the War on Iraqi Terror. (Supposedly) five lives which (sort of) intersect in both subtle and overt ways. A tacked-on ending related to a police search. A thunderstorm finale.

Gail Jones can be an excellent writer, and I loved Sorry and the short stories I’ve read; unfortunately, this novel lacked the dazzle and lucidity I’d come to expect. Jones’ sharp competence is clearly present, and it is a solid work, but I found the structural device of “interlocking characters in the same scene” unoriginal (and unchallenged), and what little narrative there was lacked dynamism. I didn’t take anything new away from this novel, and look forward to reading more spark in her others.

Where it came from: JI’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
Bed, café, bench and bed reads
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:
Non-Sydneysiders wanting a picturesque understanding of the Harbour
Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman