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

The Death of Noah Glass

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  105 reviews
The art historian Noah Glass, having just returned from a trip to Sicily, is discovered floating face down in the swimming pool at his Sydney apartment block. His adult children, Martin and Evie, must come to terms with the shock of their father’s death. But a sculpture has gone missing from a museum in Palermo, and Noah is a suspect. The police are investigating.

None of i
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 2nd 2018 by Text Publishing (first published 2018)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  530 ratings  ·  105 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Death of Noah Glass
✨    jamieson   ✨
One of those books where it's like "hey, that prose sure is beautiful BUT, it's not pretty enough to trick me into not being bored"

I liked the art history and the brief heist/art theft elements but the main two characters were boring and hard to connect to. For me, there was little memorable about their characters which is a problem in a purely character-driven novel like this

May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Already overwrought with grief, Martin and Evie Glass are quite mystified when they are called in to the police station and told by a detective that their father, Noah, only a day after his funeral, is a suspect in the theft of a sculpture from a museum in Palermo where he was holidaying. Mystified, not only because both siblings could never believe their father a criminal, but because their father, although an art historian, had always loathed the art market. Even though their father’s body was ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“As she stood on the deck of the ferry at Circular Quay, Evie was conscious of storing up things for future recollection. Here was the lustily gleaming harbour, the absurdly golden midday, and the bridge, swinging away like a door on brass hinges as the ferry executed a slow turn. Above was an infinity of blue-becoming-black reaching far into space, almost shocking after the grey security of Melbourne. The scale of things was all wrong, too lavish, too sunny, too geared to applause.”

The Death Of
Lyn Elliott
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Gail Jones is an Australian writer whose work reaches well beyond purely Australian concerns and has been translated into at least twelve languages.

She’s a gifted creator of scenes and atmospheres, able to chose words that perfectly describe, for instance, the bright, dancing light of Sydney, and the zombie-like state required to survive the long haul flights that have to be endured to take Australians just about anywhere.

In a 2018 interview she says she’s mostly interested in ideas, not in plot
Text Publishing
Feb 22, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: fiction, australian
‘The Death of Noah Glass is a transportive novel, dreamy and evocative, and full of richly-drawn characters. It’s sure to send first-time readers of Gail Jones on a journey through her extensive back catalogue.’

‘Jones writes with perception on the emotional chaos wrought by grief, and how difficult it can be to operate within relationships when there is so much that will remain unknown.’
Otago Daily Times

‘Jones displays a formidable, eclectic knowledge that she distributes among her c
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I needed time to reflect on this novel before writing a review. I so admire Gail Jones’ work but in this novel her brilliant use of language tended to distance me from the story. She packs so many ideas into her books and her style is cerebral too. I’ve heard it described as ‘cool’ (and not in the popular meaning of the word).

In this novel Jones takes a familiar scenario - the death of a parent and the reactions and interactions of adult children. Following the unexpected (but ultimately not sus
Michael Livingston
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it

This is a complex, allusive book about grief, art, and memory. I struggled at the start to really connect with it - there's more concentration required here than I was really giving it and I felt throughout as if a lot of the art-world references were slipping past me unnoticed. The book speeds up a bit as the plot unfolds, even if the central heist is as far from a page-turning art-crime thrill-ride that it's possible for an art theft to be. The complex relationships between the three family
Debbie Robson
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Gail Jones is a wonderful but I believe a neglected Australian novelist. One of the reasons I think that she doesn’t have a larger following is that she is constantly changing her writing subjects. She switches effortlessly from contemporary settings such as The Death of Noah Glass or Guide to Berlin (which I have yet to read) to Sixty Lights set in the late 19th century. I was planning to read Guide to Berlin next but I think Five Bells sounds more intriguing. I have recently written a short st ...more
Seema Rao
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Literary ~ Gentle ~ Weighty

tl;dr: Adult children learn their father might have been an art thief after his death.

Being an adult child is a bit like double exposure, all your childhood standing with your adult self. Your parents remain your parents, and in this book, the baggage sticks with you. Noah Glass is an academic, described fairly stereotypically, as measured and interior. After death, his children learn he has been implicated in a crime. Art history is a large part of my professional li
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stellaproject, auslit
As my third read on the 2019 Miles Franklin Shortlist, this has been my favorite read so far.

While I anticipated a mystery and investigation into an art world crime, what delivered was an exploration of grief and the connections within the Glass family. I think it was really well written and for the most part, well paced. I think it over-reaches in parts and didn’t deliver on all aspects of the plot - there were some inclusions that felt like they weren’t fully interrogated and explored (the le
Kirsten McKenzie
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautiful, beautiful writing.
Stunning prose with glorious imagery. The colours! And the lists. The lists were especially wonderful.
The cast of characters is small, and beautifully rendered. The dual settings of Australia and Italy lent themselves to picturesque views and commentary about the weather.
The plot was a little slower than I usually enjoy, but that is par for the course for literary fiction.
I can't gush about the plot, because there were too many threads left unwoven. I didn't feel tha
Lesley Moseley
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
UPDATE : Had already decided to up this rating to a 5 stars, when I saw it is shortlisted for our Miles Franklin Award.

Nearer to 5, but not quite as I too had to backtrack to be sure who was 'thinking'. (Not that easy with an EBOOK.), a few times.

However, absolutely love her work. Still pondering the final chapter, and have decided it's a case of 'did you pay attention'....

Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Noah Glass was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1946.’

Noah Glass is dead. His body is discovered, floating face down, fully clothes in the swimming pool of his apartment block in Sydney. Noah Glass, widowed, the father of two adult children – Martin and Evie, an art historian and specialist in the fifteenth century artist Piero della Francesca, had just returned from a trip to Palermo. Noah Glass seems to have died of natural causes, but as Martin and Evie find out, he’s a suspect in the th
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The description for this book leads a reader to expect a literary mystery. Two adult siblings trying to figure out whether their father, who has recently passed away, was potentially involved in an art theft. And in theory the book delivers on both accounts, it’s highly literary and there is something of a mystery to unravel. But, sadly, it didn’t really work for me on either account. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t a good book, objectively it was, it featured some genuinely great writing, linguist ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I love Gail Jones writing and have a huge amount of respect for her views and breadth of knowledge. This is a great example of her writing and a really great story but not reached the heights of my favourite of hers.
I do suspect I'll be thinking of aspects of the story for a while and I may go back to it just to enjoy the perceptive writing at some stage.
She really does deserve a wider audience for her work.
Must go and read some of her back list that I haven't got to yet.
That completes my re
Jaclyn Crupi
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The grief and loss Jones summons here is so palpable, visceral and beautiful that it feels as though it has to have come from lived experience. I’ve read a lot of #auslit about grief and art, but here the writing was good enough to elevate. She captures Sydney and Palermo (Sicily), and to a lesser extent Melbourne, perfectly. I love Gail Jones’ writing and there was a lot here to really sink into. This is how to write about grief and Jones gathered feelings, memories, ideas in me that I didn’t r ...more
Angela Elizabeth
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
*Please note that an edited version of this review appears in Books+Publishing and is quoted by the publisher Text Publishing in their entry also. Full review below.

In her seventh novel, The Death of Noah Glass, acclaimed Australian author Gail Jones returns to familiar territory with a narrative grounded in a strong sense of place and character. Esteemed art historian Noah Glass has been found dead at his Sydney apartment building, and his children are devastated by the loss. Martin, a successf
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My expectations were high at the outset of this 7th novel by one of my favourite Australian authors. Though there was less poetry in her fluid writing of this highly engaging narrative, there were the meticulous descriptions of time and place that I find enthralling in her work. She delves within the inner thoughts of her 3 complex characters (art historian Noah Glass + his two emotionally burdened adult children), as well as presenting the unfolding of an art theft. While the reader is drawn by ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I so enjoyed this story with its stunning prose, beautiful and dreamy imagery and deeply touching story of three grief-stricken lost souls looking for meaning through love and art. While the plot sagged a bit in the middle for me, overall this was an enchanting read and I highly recommend it to lovers of literary fiction.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review this novel.
Pam Tickner
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I felt I should like this book due to Gail Jones' reputation as a writer, but I failed to engage with the story or the characters. It had interesting quirky parts- especially Noah's early days living in a leper colony, but that wasn't enough to keep me fully engaged in the story.
Robert Lukins
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Elegant prose, compelling characters. I'm at the beginning of a Jones binge.
Laura Tee
Jun 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
Boring. Self-indulgent. Pretentious.
Martin is the worst. I couldn't care less about what happened to him. I am the only member of our book club who bothered to struggle through and finish this.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gail Jones is a genius. I absolutely loved Five Bells and I didn’t think she would or could match it but she has. Her writing is melodic and poetic yet never ever somnolent. There is energy and spirit and deep reflection. The beauty in her phrasing is high literary and yet never feels contrived. In descriptions, she captures humanity’s profound mundaneness amid deep tragedy and loss.

She changed the pace of my reading. I read and reread lines describing the everyday: After a funeral - ‘Outside,
Hazel Edwards
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Writing from varied viewpoints seems to be a current fashion, but here it was often confusing with the time jumps as to who was the father Noah and who was the son Martin and when things were happening. Maybe that was deliberate to indicate legacies and inheritances? The settings in Sicily were interesting as was the indigenous leper colony of Noah's youth, but generally the brother and sister and father were depressing characters. They existed rather than lived and seemed to have no purpose oth ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After a second read I have upgraded my review to 5 stars (from 4stars). Such a complete and satisfying story.

I really enjoy Gail Jones’s writing as I feel slightly mesmerised by the rhythm and language of her words and am continually amazed with her precision in depicting places. In this novel Palermo comes alive with its seedy underbelly and labyrinth streets.

This novel has a cast of characters who are introspective in their examination of what ties family together and the tenuousness of these
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Fine writing and evocative description of place were not enough for me to be absorbed by this book. I came to the end wondering what I was supposed to take from it. I failed to connect with any of the characters, who remained two-dimensional: despite all the information the writer told me about their emotions and experiences, they did not come to life for me.
Esther King
Apr 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
There’s a sketch from an old Britcom called ‘A Bit Of Fry And Laurie’. A sequence of seemingly unrelated images slowly roll across the screen, accompanied by a string of odd sentences, eventually turning to the image of a bottle of perfume. The perfume’s name, according to a marvellous Stephen Fry led voiceover, is ‘Pretention: by Fry and Laurie’.

That sketch is what this book was.

Jamming one’s knowledge of art history into a book is perfectly fine if you make it accessible as opposed to making
Cherise Wolas
This is the first novel I've read by award-winning Australian writer, Gail Jones. While there is a mystery at the core - did newly dead Noah Glass, 67 years old and just back from a trip to Italy, steal a valuable work of art? - this isn't actually a mystery or a thriller. Instead, it's a meditative, sometimes lyrical, look at a family, at grief, at the power of a visual image, art, and the complexity of time, the way it can both loop and fold over on itself, while the body itself moves forward ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

While Noah Glass's two adult children are still making funeral plans and coming to terms with the sudden death of their father, the police arrive to let them know that he is suspected of having stolen an Italian statue. Noah Glass was an art historian and he had recently been in Palermo, but his area of expertise was far removed from the relatively recent sculpture and his personal views made such an accusation unthinkable to his children. Evie, who has traveled to Sydney from her home in Melbou
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Too Much Lip
  • The Weekend
  • There Was Still Love
  • Bruny
  • The Erratics
  • Dyschronia
  • The Yield
  • The Lebs
  • Damascus
  • Exploded View
  • Islands
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words
  • A Stolen Season
  • The Bridge
  • Little Gods
  • The Lucky Galah
  • The White Girl
  • Wolfe Island
See similar books…
Gail Jones is the author of two short-story collections, a critical monograph, and the novels BLACK MIRROR, SIXTY LIGHTS, DREAMS OF SPEAKING, SORRY and FIVE BELLS.

Three times shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, her prizes include the WA Premier's Award for Fiction, the Nita B. Kibble Award, the Steele Rudd Award, the Age Book of the Year Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Fiction and th

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
30 likes · 16 comments
“As she stood on the deck of the ferry at Circular Quay, Evie was conscious of storing up things for future recollection. Here was the lustily gleaming harbour, the absurdly golden midday, and the bridge, swinging away like a door on brass hinges as the ferry executed a slow turn. Above was an infinity of blue-becoming-black reaching far into space, almost shocking after the grey security of Melbourne. The scale of things was all wrong, too lavish, too sunny, too geared to applause.
More quotes…