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Landscape of Farewell

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  20 reviews
The compelling new novel from award-winning author Alex Miller, Landscape of Farewellis a profound, moving and important novel about the land, the past, exile, and acceptance. This deeply intelligent and thoughtful novel is a worthy successor to Miller's earlier novel, the much-loved and critically admired Journey to the Stone Country. ...more
Hardcover, 279 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Allen & Unwin Academic
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B the BookAddict
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: myself
Alex Miller has the ability to transport you, lift you from the mundane and will etch on your conscious his beautifully dignified and elegiac stories. Let this novel fall open to any page and you will find a sentence of sublime beauty.

One would think the notion of a friendship between a retired German professor and an Aboriginal elder, embarking on a journey to a sacred resting place, would be unlikely. But in the hands of Australian author Alex Miller, it becomes not only likely but incredibly
Leigh Swinbourne
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex Miller’s ‘Landscape of Farewell’ is the second in a loose trilogy of novels set in outback Queensland, following ‘Journey to the Stone Country’ and preceding ‘Coal Creek’. The novel opens about as far from the outback you can get, in Hamburg, where a retired German Professor of medieval history, Max Otto, is planning suicide, largely through grief at the recent death of his wife. He has a last guest lecture to deliver on ‘The Persistence of the Phenomenon of Massacre’, an obviously fraught ...more
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australia, c21st
I am astonished to see that someone found Landscape of Farewell a 'yawn' because I found it utterly compelling.

The characterisation is superb. Max Otto, has transcended his humble beginnings to become an academic, but his research has always been constricted by his fear of learning more than he wants to know about his own father’s actions in Ww2. He spent his career in the relative calm of 12th century history, unable to confront his real field of interest: exploring that question that challen
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Cynthia Grove
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pity I have used superlatives and a 5 star rating for other books. Oh, they quite deserved it but it leaves me no words to express the beauty, sensitivity, poetry, spirituality, awareness of the depths of the psyche and the connection between all humanity, plus the connection to country that is so well delivered in this book.
Reading this book has been a spiritual journey and a beautiful gift. It is a precious work of art. I am in awe of Alex Miller's skill. That said it is not a book that will
Jonathan Patten
Nov 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found the first section of the book captivating and then it just slowly lost me over the second hundred pages. I didn't feel like I could understand the characters at all and I found the elaborate description difficult to follow, with my attention drifting in and out. That might say more about me perhaps than the book but I just couldn't finish this book which doesn't often happen. ...more
Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed with this novel after all the hype about Miller.
I did not experience any Germanic atmosphere at all when introduced to Max in Germany. Most of the characters lacked conviction and a lot of the incidents seemed improbable.
If there was a message other than coping with guilt by facing it then it is too obscure to me.
Chloe Stam
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A very interesting novel spanning culture and generation, as the main character, a German academic who is the descendant of a Nazi officer, meets an aboriginal activist and eventually meets her uncle, who has an interesting and thematically correlating story relating to genocide, the topic of the academic's research. The main question that is pondered is how do you reconcile with the past when what happened in the past was horrific? How do we forgive mistakes or cruelty and move on while still a ...more
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A philosophical read that tells the story of friendship, loss, grief, and Aboriginal resistance. Miller draws parallels between failings of humanity in countries from opposite ends of the globe. His beautiful writing brings to life the ordinary. One could read this multiple times and gain new meaning each read. I was touched by the poignant telling of the loss of the main character's wife. ...more
Rowena Eddy
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book about two old men, one German and one Indigenous Australian coming to terms with the past. The landscape allows both of them to attain peace and let go of guilt. The writing is beautiful, but I thought the structure a bit clunky
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent Alex Miller novel. Even more meditative than his other novels I've read, I found this a little slow at the start but it is definitely worth persevering, a wonderful read. ...more
Dec 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this took me while to complete. There are highly engaging sections and then slow bits too but I persisted and glad I have completed.

Descriptions are beautifully detailed especially in the remote hut when Max visits Vita's uncle Dougald Gnapun in remote northern Australia. What about the descriptions of the goat's death and then the night Max tried to rescue the carcass from the tree over the pond! It appeared to me to feel so real. Also the pathos in the beginning when Max is ready to end h
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of this year's reading resolutions is to read more from my shelves and, in particular, more by the authors I love. This is how I came to read Alex Miller's Landscape of Farewell, his eighth novel, first published in 2007 and shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2008.

The story is told from the perspective of an elderly German academic, who is grieving over the death of his beloved wife, but finds new hope for his future in a rather unexpected way.

When the book opens, we meet P
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Landscape of Farewell is written from the point of view of a German historian Max Otto, recently retired and widowed who is saved from committing suicide on the day unwittingly by a visting Australian Aboriginal professor who invites him to her country. And after they attend a conference in Sydney, she leaves Max with her father Douglad Gnapun. The remainder of the story is the two old men coming to an understanding and thru long periods of silence come to be friends. Max also ponders his own hi ...more
Ilyhana Kennedy
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think you may have to be an Australian, no, a Queenslander to fully appreciate the setting and circumstances of this novel. It's a rare experience.
The story is layered with grief and regrets, beautifully written with a gentle pace as we have come to expect from Alex Miller.
I have a gripe though…I find it really frustrating when an author, particularly a fine author, does not think out the practicalities of what is written. It happens too often in novels.
In this case, there is no way that the
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A new author for me but a special reading experience, because I finished it just as I arrived in the Australian outback. It is about the secrets, fears and guilt two elderly men - one a German history professor, the other an Aboriginal man working for social justice in a remote outback station - carry through their lives. They come together through Vita, niece of the latter (whose character frankly annoyed me)and form an unlikely bond. Jointly, they find a kind of redemption and peace.

Lisa Burns
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely one of his more meditative books but if you're patient and open to the slightly slower narrative it's a truly beautiful story. ...more
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book, an extraordinary writer.
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Alex Miller is one of Australia's best-loved writers, and winner of the Melbourne Prize for Literature 2012.

Alex Miller is twice winner of Australia's premier literary prize, The Miles Franklin Literary Award, first in 1993 for The Ancestor Game and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country. He is also an overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, in 1993 for The Ancestor Game. His fi

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