Karen Leopoldina's Reviews > Cold Light

Cold Light by Frank Moorhouse
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's review
Feb 08, 2012

liked it

an impressive opening, and the ending still lingers, but what about those 700 odd pages in between? weight is what i think of with this book: its physical mass matched by the weight of all that research which mired the narrative into a sludge that was almost inert at times. i love history, and i love books which use invented characters and places them in the midst of a real historical context. but research needs to be worn lightly, and this indeed mr moorhouse does not do. oh not indeed. this reader, at least, felt bludgeoned at times as his characters seemed merely mouthpieces for various ideas that concerned its author. but despite my qualms about narrative pace, and whether i was engaged by any of the characters – the central character of Edith Berry was particularly unconvincing, least of all as a woman – i was still impressed by the intellectual scope and ambition of this book. it is so rare in australia to read a book of ideas: even rarer to find a writer who dares to write one.
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