It is lovely hearing Alex Miller recount the real life incident with an enigmatic stranger on a train in China that sparked the subject of this novel A Brief Affair. Hearts are thrown at strangers and for Fran Egan an intelligent academic, a night of passion with a man she meets at a conference overseas changes her forever. It remains a secret from her husband and children, but the ripple on for Fran in the form of questioning and newfound perspectives is far reaching.
This is an easy read, Alex Miller is a beautiful writer, wise and empathetic and I felt he nuanced his female character with complete credibility.
From the bustling streets of China, to the ominous Cell 16 in an old asylum building, to the familiar sounds and sight of galahs flying over a Victorian farm, this is a tender love story.
More than one ghost haunts this tender novel about love in its many guises, condoned and illicit. In his deceptively simple, lucid prose, Alex Miller examines the emotional contradictions inherent in apparent opposites as his central character learns to draw strength and inspiration from unlikely places. Hauntingly beautiful, A Brief Affair will resonate long after its pages are closed.
On the face of it, Dr Frances Egan is a woman who has it all - a loving family and a fine career - until a brief, perfect affair reveals to her an imaginative dimension to her life that is wholly her own.
Fran finds the courage and the inspiration to risk everything and change her direction at the age of forty-two. This newfound understanding of herself is fortified by the discovery of a long-forgotten diary from the asylum and the story it reveals.
Written with humour, sensitivity and the wisdom for which Miller's work is famous, this exquisitely compassionate novel explores the interior life and the dangerous navigation of love in all its forms.