A poignant and tender sort-of-love story about two damaged people tenuously connecting.Eleanor is blind and lives with her reclusive mother. Ewan is a cello player with agoraphobia. She is drawn to him through his music but cannot understand the difficulty he faces in forming a friendship. He does not understand her past, nor the impact his music has on her. Amidst the heat of a Fremantle summer, they stumble towards each other.Sad, funny, affecting, and peopled with characters that live and breathe, Rhubarb is the first novel from a young writer with an astonishing talent. With his sublime and playful use of language and his uncanny ability to reveal the human condition in all its vulnerability and fragility, Craig Silvey has created an extraordinary contemporary story.More
Through its two reclusive co-protagonists, Rhubarb delivers dueling portraits of solitude: listeners meet Eleanor Rigby (yes - like the Beatles’ song), a blind woman with an overweight guide dog, and Ewan Dempsey, an agoraphobic cello-maker. The lives of the two intertwine in the provincial climes of Fremantle, a wayward town in Western Australia, as Ewan and Eleanor try to help each other overcome the ghosts of their troubled pasts.
In homage to author Craig Silvey’s musical sensibilities, performer Humphrey Bower lends an absolutely singsong quality to this jilted lullaby of loneliness. Indeed, the Aussie actor’s Bob Dylan impression is remarkably convincing. Bower’s pensive pacing and melodious warbling play perfectly with the unusual blend of prose, verse, and stream-of-consciousness flashbacks that inform Silvey’s strikingly unique linguistic stylings.
"The novel has the charm of early work such as Gustave Flaubert's Novembre and Jack Kerouac's The Subterraneans." (Weekend Australian)
"The playful words and images in this book are a sheer joy. More please." (Sydney Morning Herald)
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