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A Lifetime On Clouds
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A Lifetime On Clouds

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  66 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
"Murnane draws out a great deal of comedy from the distance between what his hero does and what he dreams."—The Guardian

Adrian Sherd is a teenager in Melbourne of the 1950s—the last years before television and the family car changed suburbia forever.

Earnest and isolated, tormented by his hormones and his religious devotion, Adrian dreams of elaborate orgies with American f
Published (first published 1976)
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Jul 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
This remarkable book is probably the most accessible of Murnane’s novels.

It is the story of a Catholic adolescent growing up in one of the new suburbs of Melbourne in the 1950s and of his struggles with masturbation. There are many very funny passages in this book and some wonderfully amusing ideas.

The central character (Adrian) creates entire and rich worlds for himself throughout the book – for most of the first part that world is an imagined USA. This USA is a series of breath-taking landsca
Justin Evans
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I like 'Portnoy's Complaint.' Is it the sort of thing I want to base my life on, morally? No, it is not. But it is funny, and mercifully free of the self-adoration that fills Roth's later books.

But I'll never read Portnoy's again (that's a lie, I will), because I have this book. LoC is also about masturbation, here by a Catholic schoolboy from the Melbourne suburbs in the early 1950s. But instead of staying there and reaping the jokes, it turns into a meditation on world history as understood t
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I lack the two things necessary to make this a remarkable novel: a penis, and experience with the Catholic faith. As a result, whilst some of Adrian's imaginings and anecdotes are amusing, I failed to find them engaging.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
We are hearing a lot at present that Gerard Murnane is the great under-rated genius of Australian Literature and that he was even suggested as a potential contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. So with this strong recommendation I enthusiastically started "A Lifetime on Clouds". Originally published in 1976 the book is a product of its time and over-extends its central conceit.
A sustained piece of deadpan satire it has lost a lot of its relevance in the intervening years. And t
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great discovery Gerald Murnane is! This book is empathetic, funny and original. And the subject of the Catholic Church is topical. Published in 1976, this is Murnane’s second novel and the writing is fresh and immediate. Loved it!
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
It is a fun book, but a bit thin. It describes the fantasies of a teenager in 1950's Melbourne-suburbia and overwhelming Catholicism. The start and end are entertaining, but after a while, one sees the guilt and naivete and wants a bit more.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rather painful account of a delusional adolescent masturbator tormented by Catholic guilt.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
if murnane was a schoolboy today he'd be subscribed to the nofap subreddit
Robert Collins
If it’s not hard enough for a naïve young man to go through puberty imagine how difficult it would be if you’re a devout young Catholic in the early 1950’s. Such is the world faced by Adrian Sherd in this brilliant coming of age novel by Gerald Murnane.
Trapped in the quiet outer suburbs of Melbourne in an era of stultifying conservatism, Adrian works through the tribulations of constant temptations and the numerous potential sins that confront him at every turn.
Adrian is very sincere in his bel
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-shelf
I loved Tamarisk Row and as A Lifetime On Clouds was Murnane's second book I was excited to read this one too. I actually pre-ordered the book in anticipation of it's re-release. I received the book on its release date and read it cover-to-cover in one day.

Although the context of the story - a 15 year old 'self-confessed sex addict' Catholic schoolboy in 1950's Melbourne - doesn't give me much to relate to, I found this book very charming and engaging. Although it did take me back to reading Loc
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Adrian Sherd is a teenager in Australia who is coming of age in a middle class Catholic family. Like many of his friends he spends his time thinking about girls and ways to pleasure himself. The first 20 or so pages of the book were very funny as Adrian describes the struggle between his Catholic morals and his physical needs.

There were many parts of the book where the storyline lagged and I was bored. I also thought that the ending was unsatisfactory and turned from being funny and lighthearte
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it
A good read about a daydreaming boy of about 15 years of age in Melbourne, Australia. It mainly focusses on his fantasies. Imagining his romantic involvement with American girls in the USA and his entire life with the girl who he sees on a train but never speaks to. The other focus is on the upbringing of a catholic lad in Melbourne in the 1950s. These subject matters will be to the liking of a a select group of readers.
Kris McCracken
Catholics are very odd. I think that this books establishes that point.
Nov 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian, own-copy
This was not what I was expecting, having said that it was an enjoyable read, just one of the stranger books that I have read.
Apr 02, 2013 marked it as to-read
Recommended on the ABC bookclub 2 April 2013. Might be a good contrast to Skippy dies. Similar setting and characters?
Liam Donnelly
rated it did not like it
Feb 08, 2014
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Nov 05, 2013
Joaquin Araque
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Apr 19, 2018
Melbourne Bitter
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Mar 21, 2018
Shaun Prescott
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Oct 26, 2013
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Jul 24, 2014
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May 27, 2015
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Apr 26, 2018
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Nick Mahony
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Adam Lowy
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Neil Dufty
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Nov 26, 2013
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Murnane's first two books, Tamarisk Row (1974) and A Lifetime on Clouds (1976), seem to be semi-autobiographical accounts of his childhood and adolescence. Both are composed largely of very long but grammatical sentences.

In 1982, he attained his mature style with The Plains, a short novel about a young filmmaker who travels to a fictive country far within Australia, where his failure to make a fil