I am not a fan of authentic dialogue. It makes the dialogue hard to follow and interrupts the flow of the narrative.
In other ways, Malouf is interposing himself between the reader and the story. This is the case with the multiple narrators and extensive exposition that accompanies the introduction of each new narrator. This has the danger of turning the novel into a travel guide.
The book could have been tighter if it was told through a single narrator. The obvious candidates are either Lachlan or Janet. Both of these were profoundly affected by Gemma's entry into their lives.
In all, this was an uneven book with great potential and given the characters.
Malouf's historical research gives life to this novel.
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