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De Kretser (The Hamilton Case) presents an intimate and subtle look at Tom Loxley, a well-intentioned but solipsistic Henry James scholar and childless divorcé, as he searches for his missing dog in the Australian bush. While the overarching story follows Tom's search during a little over a week in November 2001, flashbacks reveal Tom's infatuation with Nelly Zhang, an artist tainted by scandal—from her controversial paintings to the disappearance and presumed murder of her husband, Felix, a bond trader who got into some shady dealings. As Tom puts the finishing touches on his book about James and the uncanny and searches for his dog, de Kretser fleshes out Tom's obsession with Nelly—from the connection he feels to her incendiary paintings (one exhibition was dubbed Nelly's Nasties in the press) to the sleuthing about her past that he's done under scholarly pretenses. Things progress rapidly, with a few unexpected turns thrown in as Tom and Nelly get together, the murky circumstances surrounding Felix's disappearance are (somewhat) cleared up and the matter of the missing dog is settled. De Kretser's unadorned, direct sentences illustrate her characters' flaws and desires, and she does an admirable job of illuminating how life and art overlap in the 21st century. (Apr.)
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"Multilayered and beguiling....The Hamilton
Case does enchant, certainly, but--more
important--the book admirably and resolutely
sees the world as it really is."
―William Boyd, New York Times Book Review
"Hypnotic, lush and calmly observant."―Chris Lehmann, Washington Post Book World
"Comic, tragic, haunting, hallucinatory and
elusive, but vivid and exact, this is a brilliant
book by a brilliant writer."
―Karen Joy Fowler (author of "The Jane Austen Book Club")
Michelle de Kretser's The Hamilton Case
ratifies every dream one might have of a tropical
landscape....She is, however, as smart and up-
to-date as she can be....A dazzling
performance."―Anita Desai, New York Review of Books
An elegant, seductive...work of art."―Laura Miller, Salon.com
"One of the best arguments against false exotic
chic I've read."―Sudip Bose, Washington Times
"The Lost Dog is an uncompromisingly literary (and literate) book: ferociously intelligent, highbrow, allusive and unflinching....There are all kinds of terrors lurking within the heart of the book--these are for the reader to discover--but the one that is most palpable is the undeniable fact that this book is touched, like Rilke's "terrible angel," by the terror of greatness."―Neel Mukherjee, Time
"Engrossing. . .De Kretser confidently marshals her reader back and forth through the book's complex flashback structure, keeping us in suspense even as we read simply for the pleasure of her prose. . . . De Kretser knows when to explain, and when to leave us deliciously wondering."―Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
"More often than not, de Kretser nails some situation or foible in 20 words or less. . .There is much here that dazzles. . . .De Kretser's writing is as boldly beautiful as ever."―Alison McCulloch, The New York Times Book Review
"A nuanced portrait of a man in his time. The novel, like Tom, is multicultural, intelligent, challenging, and, ultimately, rewarding."―Andrea Kempf, Library Journal
"An intimate and subtle look at Tom Loxley, a well-intentioned but solipsistic Henry James scholar and childless divorcé, as he searches for his missing dog in the Australian bush.... Things progress rapidly, with a few unexpected turns thrown in as Tom and Nelly get together, the murky circumstances surrounding Felix's disappearance are (somewhat) cleared up and the matter of the missing dog is settled. De Kretser's unadorned, direct sentences illustrate her characters' flaws and desires, and she does an admirable job of illuminating how life and art overlap in the 21st century."―Publishers Weekly
"De Kretser's daring willingness to let suspense accrue without promising resolution is a worthy echo of Henry James's brilliance."―Dara Horn, Washington Post
"That rare treasure, a perfect novel...As the plot grows darker and more complex, de Kretser's prose gleams with sinister beauty. Her sentences sparkle like precious things."―Lev Grossman, Time Magazine (Best Books of 2004)
"Ruminative and roving in form, an intense, immaculate...novel."―Kirkus Reviews
"A wonderful tale of obsession, art, death, loss, human failure, and past and present loves. One of
"De Kretser's displaced and subtle characters are genuinely interesting, and her writing is emotionally accurate...a fine novel."―Ursula K. Le Guin, The Guardian (UK)
"This is the best novel I have read for a long time. The writing is elegant and subtle, and Michelle de Kretser knows how to construct a gripping story."―A.S. Byatt, Financial Times (UK)