Saint Antony in His Desert
Paperback | Jun 2018 | UWA Publishing | 9781742589787 | 184pp | 228x159mm | Forthcoming | GEN | AUD$26.99, NZD$32.99
An ambitious novel of ideas set against a phantasmagoric Sydney - J. M. Coeztee
A defrocked priest, Antony Elm, has made his way into a desert outside Alice Springs, where he intends to stay for forty days and forty nights. He is undergoing a crisis of faith and has brought with him the typescript for a book he has failed to finish about a meeting between Albert Einstein and the French philosopher Henri Bergson. This story concerns a crisis of understanding, as Bergson confronts Einstein about the meaning of time.
On the back of his typescript Antony writes another story, somehow close to his heart, which concerns two young men traveling to Sydney from Canberra for the first time in the early 1980s. This story, about a crisis of love, takes place in a single night as the boys encounter temptation, damnation and salvation in the world of alternative music
Antony becomes increasingly delirious, observing temptations of the flesh and spirit, scribbling in the margins of his two unspooling narratives, awaiting a rescue that may or may not come.