The Death of Noah Glass by Gail Jones

1. First lines. 2. Published 2018 Text Publishing. 3. Nativity By Piero della Francesca – Web Gallery of Art. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia
Beautiful descriptions of Artworks.

Noah Glass has been found drowned in the swimming pool of his apartment block. His grownup children, Evie and Martin, are shocked to learn that he is the suspect of an art robbery. The police are investigating the disappearance of a valuable sculpture, “Japanese Woman” by Vincenzo Ragusa from an art museum in Italy. Martin travels to Italy to try to find out if and how his father was involved.

“Martin took out his camera and kindly shot her.”

“He saw at last a painting whose singular majesty moved him, and he was reminded why art history was worth pursuing. Piero della Francesca. The Nativity. 1470s. He’d had his fill of block-faced holy babies and drowsy Madonnas, of lurid martyrdoms and rapturous ascensions, by the time he paused before it. There was a ruined old wall that stood in for a stable, five ordinary-looking angels singing their praise, and a kneeling Madonna, very lovely, very simple, who had her baby set down before her, lying on her blue robe. Baby Jesus had no crown or sausage limbs, no divine peculiarity or glorious election, but was reaching just as babies do, human and set apart. There was a magpie sitting high on the roof of the stable, there was Tuscany in the background, there was the artist’s home town, Sansepolcro, visible in the distance. For all its cramming of faces and animals, while Joseph sat, apparently bored, with his foot on his knee, like an ordinary bloke looking for a thorn, to Noah this picture seemed to possess a rare distinction.”

“The old centre of Palermo had a ravaged look; buildings were crumbling, or boarded up, or in a state of disrepair. The shells of houses bombed during the war still remained amid piles of rubble, often with sprawling plants growing among the bricks. There were garbage and graffiti everywhere; a bloated dead cat, its eyes extruded as if its head had been stamped on, lay in the lane behind Martin’s room.”

~Quotes from “The Death of Noah Glass” by Gail Jones.
  • Judges’ Report Stella Prize 2019: “The Death of Noah Glass is a layered, thoughtful meditation on art, family, history, and the complex construction of the self. Jones achieves the considerable feat of presenting a novel of ideas with dense literary value as well as a page-turning plot. Ultimately, The Death of Noah Glass is a well-crafted, detail-rich narrative from a multi-award-winning literary novelist who is at the peak of her game.”
  • Judges’ Report PM’s Literary Prize 2019: “Gail Jones’s The Death of Noah Glass opens with a body floating in a swimming pool and remains, at one level, a gripping mystery that investigates an Australian art historian’s death and his connection to an Italian art theft. … Her restrained, observant prose sensitively plumbs the grief of Glass’s adult children—an artist and a philosopher—as they seek to understand their father and thus themselves. The action moves between vivid locales—Sydney, Western Australia, Sicily—and between past and present. This is a highly accomplished novel about the unknowability of others, even those closest to us, and the consolations of art, by an author of distinctive and fully matured style.”

Awards: 2019 Winner Prime Minister’s Literary Awards | 2019 Shortlisted Miles Franklin Literary Award | 2019 Shortlisted Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction | 2019 Shortlisted ALS Gold Medal | 2019 Shortlisted Colin Roderick Award | 2019 Shortlisted Voss Literary Prize | 2019 Longlisted Stella Prize.

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