Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Inland” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.93  ·  Rating details ·  136 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Is it possible to fall in love with a correspondent based entirely on a fascination with his or her handwriting, with a map of the country they live in, with the syllables of their name? What about, then, a fictional character, in a book about a country one has never, and will never, visit?

Inland is a compact story—or group of stories, each nested within another—nonetheles
169 pages
Published (first published 1989)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Inland, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Inland

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Gerald Murnane has a strange preoccupation with windows. The reader of his novels eventually begins to wonder what exactly these windows symbolise, how they are defined in Murnane's personal dictionary.

In The Plains, Murnane preferred to have "windows" remain a mysterious element but within the pages of Inland, he develops the theme much more concretely. From the beginning, by means of stories within stories, he makes the reader aware of the narrative itself as a series of windows through which
Justin Evans
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A lovely meditation on childhood, first love, and geography; if you liked the early volumes of Proust (before he gets to the delicious society gossip), you might find something to like here. On the other hand, you might not. Where Proust is quite open about what he's doing, Murnane is very sneaky; where Proust is about people, Murnane is about (for want of a better term) constellations of sensation, whether those sensations are currently being experienced, being recalled, or being invented. Dele ...more
Inland is a strange adventure that plays with your mind from the first page. It’s not ‘easy’ but it’s not meant to be: Gerald Murnane is not that kind of writer. Before long he signposts what he is up to with a witty reference to Italo Calvino, and I am reminded of Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night, A Traveller – that strange, circuitous experience of reading about yourself as a reader, of being inside the book as well, sharing somehow in the writing of it.
To see the rest of this review, visit h
Stephen P
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Possibly shrinking down towards a 3.5/5
My review of this in the Sept. 2012 issue of The Quarterly Conversation:
Bill Hsu
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I liked the abstract flirtations and play with language in the first section. But I guess I'm just not that excited with grasses and streams.
Jeff Golick
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A strange, compelling work -- not for everyone but right up my alley. The narrator is an author, a very self-aware author who comments often on the books around him (books he doesn't read), the papers on his desk, and the reader(s) he imagines taking in his work. The narrator's main preoccupation: the lay of the land, the geography of place, grasslands, his "native district," and the various places he has called home. People don't seem to figure as strongly as does Place.

There is no real plot to
Travis McGuire
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Though Murnane does not use plot he does use theme and this, along with wonderful description of place and landscape is what carries this book. The stories within are rich and honest, almost childlike in their reflection. The connection of the world through grasslands elicits something familiar yet different and the question of life and what different paths we may take remind us that life is final but it maybe doesn't have to be. But also asks if that is even true. What the book does above all i ...more
Michael Jantz
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most wonderful books I have read in recent memory. Murnane's language is so simple, but he does with it very complicated and entertaining things. Inland is not so much a story about a man, but instead the thoughts of a man in a room remembering parts of his life and writing to his reader (whom he claims to know). The imagery is beautiful and the life of the narrator is one that could be quite a bit like the lives of any of his readers. This will be a book to read repeatedly. There is ...more
a novel questioning relationships lost and found, and ultimately, did they really even happen? what happens when a writer obsesses over an atlas, it's all grasslands eventually, even when covered over by houses, strip malls, and roads. so if you ever have had the urge to visit the Calvin O. Dahlberg Prairie Institute in west central Nebraska, now's your chance.
Wan Nor
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marginal-kings
A very unique author. The moment you step into this novel, you are in Murnane's land. Murnane thinks and writes like a land surveyor, or perhaps one of those colonial explorers that are constantly looking for new world to explore. But is he exploring the land, or is he just exploring the territory of his own mind and memory.

Seriously neglected. Murnane should have a monument built for him in Australia.
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
A slow-moving book that winds its way through the barren places of the heart, a beautiful, desolate thing. Murnane is the real thing, for sure, which is to say he is a strange one. If Inland is any indication of the rest of his body of work, he is a writer to be reckoned with.
Marek Waldorf
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wrote something about Murnane under a longer review of Tom McGonigle's recent novel, to whom I compared/contrasted him.
Dustin Kurtz
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Murnane is unrivalled.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
i'm unsure what I got from this book

interesting perspective or set of perspectives, reflecting on youth and coming of age, reflecting on relationship between writer and reader

highly repetitive and conceptual

windows / pages, writers/readers, landscape of grasslands and towns sitting between bodies of water

just not sure

introversion and alienation of Kafka without the absurd meets Calvino without the humour

I just don't know
Jake Buckholz
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is impossible to find a rhythm in. I doubt I ever read more than ten pages in a sitting. The second half is far clearer than the first, but that may not be to its advantage. There are some gems to be dug out of here, such as Murnane's theories on reading which helped me put language to ideas I've long held, but I'd only truly recommend it to the rare Murnane completionists.
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ten stars. The best Murnane I’ve read, but surely much enhanced by having read earlier and later works of his. A wonderful novel.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, personal, writing
So like an inscrutable memoir! Apparently, to cross the boundary between thinking and writing crosses the boundary between language and country. Some guy in a manor house in -- is it Melbourne county or Szolnok county or Tripp county? "from" or "currently at" or "thinking about"? -- looking through a window and pondering the woman who edits the pages he writes, is all we get at first. Experimental! Or, I should say, experimental? The author Gerald Murnane is, as I learned later, Australian but l ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Aussie 'literature' generally makes me vomit and want to punch people in the face. It's basically boring, Anglo-Saxon whiteys with no proper culture or identity, the fish England rejected pretty much, talking about nothing. And to be honest, Murnane isn't really that much different from the staid, descriptive, melancholy literature that most of these white Aussies have written. HOWEVER, Murnane has taken the 'classic Aussie literature' of the mundane, safe, simple, not very interesting life ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was slow-going, especially at the beginning. I picked it up after hearing Teju Cole and Hari Kuzru reading from the third issue of the journal Music + Literature and raving about Gerald Murnane.

The style is quite different - and harder - than I am used to. Although the literal style was a large part of what the two writers admired about Murnane. Happily, the book picks up slightly after the first 40-50 pages. In some ways, I think it helped to have a little knowledge of what Murnane's
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
he writes great books about guys who spend all their time staring out the windows of private libraries
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One question that I ask myself is if whether there is a type of literary style I dislike? on looking back I’m finding out that I prefer to read more solid stories than experimental ones and I admit that it does bother me a bit.

Inland is, more than anything, a novel that creates an atmosphere with some autobiographical bits chucked in. It’s about a writer who goes on a metaphorical journey to the past, where he confronts certain aspects of his life that he has shied from when he was younger.

Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I don't get Beckett I always assume that the fault is mine. Perhaps that's putting the man on too high a pedestal but I feel much the same about Murnane. There is no doubt that what I am reading is what he intended to say. Bearing that in mind I think it would be cocky to suggest, certainly not after a single reading, that I understand Inland. I understand what he's attempting here which is a start. It's certainly not a book I would universally recommend because more people will not like it ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Based on the reputation of Gerald Mernane as one of Australia's preeminent authors, I was looking forward to reading "Inland". Instead, it turned into the longest 169 pages I've ever read. The book is willfully obtuse, as if Murnane is trying to make it as difficult as possible to follow the narrator's voice. It borders on hostile. I kept wait for a payoff, some reward for putting up with this sad lunatic, but while the prose becomes more conventional in the back third of the book, it doesn't le ...more
Demetrice Gooden
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is a shame Mr. Murnane, Australia's "greatest living novelist" is not better known in the U.S.. Similar in vein to W.G. Sebald or Roberto Bolano, Inland provides an excellent way to become acquainted with his work and its inventive, forlorn qualities.
Set in shifting planes of memory, real and imagined incidents commingle in stories that span over continents and decades; however they share the same essential details. The text a monument to a lesson in semantics as observed by the novel's nar
I did not like this book at all. It was very hard to understand exactly what the author is trying to convey. Quote from Murnane: "unstable world adrift as an island in the ocean of the heart". It is about "longing to breathe with ecstasy at the smell of enduring lilacs" . But why 169 pages of prose that is hard to comprehend? At least for me - maybe you will be able to - pick up the book and see what you can get out of it. Someone had to value the book in order to put it on the 1001 book list of ...more
I had trouble with this book.  I think that I read it in pieces that were too small and with a mind that was too busy.  It is quiet and contemplative.  I felt that each sentence was an elegantly curved line, each one similar to the one before it but a little different, nestled into its fellows to form a pattern.  But I didn't ever quite see what that pattern was.  I think that the book had more to say about loneliness and creativity and memory that I grasped on this reading.  Sorry, Inland.  I h ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty cool 'author telling you about things he saw, imagined he saw, or imagined what someone else might have seen' feel
Gary Homewood
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Experimental, writerly meta-fiction, preoccupied with imagined geographies, solipsistic, often repetitive and boring, weirdly fractal and obsessive, and then, ultimately, oddly affecting.
Mary Schneider
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An incredible. Reading it feels like really doing something.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Commandant
  • Pavel's Letters
  • Memories of Rain
  • Memoirs of My Nervous Illness
  • Fado Alexandrino
  • The Tree Of Man
  • The Triple Mirror of the Self
  • Larva: A Midsummer Night's Babel
  • Cataract
  • Luka
  • The New World
  • Halbzeit
  • The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda: A Northern Story
  • Life of Christ
  • Last World
  • The Twilight Years
  • The Cathedral
  • Retreat Without Song
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »