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A Sand Archive

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Long before I ever met him I knew his name from the leaky dessicated type of a grey-brown slim volume, cheaply printed but essential to my research ...

Seeking stories of Australia's Great Ocean Road, a young writer stumbles across a manual from a minor player in the road's history, FB Herschell. It is a volume unremarkable in every way, save for the surprising portrait
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Picador Australia
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  68 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia, 18review, c21st
Gregory Day’s new novel A Sand Archive, is such an exquisite book, I was really sorry to turn the last page. It reminded me a little of Stoner by John Williams and Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life in the way that it portrays an ordinary, unobtrusive man who isn’t really ordinary at all.
As I said in the Sensational Snippet that I posted yesterday, the central character FB Herschell is a young civil engineer who, tasked with stabilising the dunes along Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road, visits Par
Steve lovell
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve had a life-long love of sand – beach sand that is. For most of this life I’ve loved disporting myself on it, soaking up the sun half-naked till scare campaigns and age put an end to all that hedonism on my part. These days I perambulate along strands rather than being supine. My island is blessed by stunning beaches – and right now I am close to two of the best – Boat Harbour and Sisters. But there’s wilder sand too. Dune Sand. Coastal dune sand, at places such as Henty on the West Coast an ...more
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: auslit
For a construction lawyer and literary fiction fan, this ticked all of the “interest” boxes for me. It’s very much a story about writing and documenting as an act, following a writer who is looking at the construction of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. He becomes intrigued by one of the civil engineers involved in the works, and quickly this is the narrative that consumes the bulk of the novel. The narrative uses metaphors impeccably, and the imagery of sand within the plot stands o ...more
Lesley Moseley
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was still on a high after reading 'Spring', so unfairly found it hard to get into this wonderful book. If you have not read Greg Day yet, and are of fan of Ali Smith, you will be delighted. His characters are so real I even googled some to see!
Peter Mathews
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Like sand through the hour glass.....this is no soap opera.
It's a subtle story mainly set in the sixties that expertly shifts from The Great Ocean Road and Geelong to Gascony and Paris. The cultural shifts and character relationships are also handled brilliantly.
Another surprising read, unlike anything I've read before, read from the 2019 Miles Franklin Long-list.
Not sure what sand dune Gregory Day has been hiding under, but I'm glad to have found his writing in this novel and I'll be seeking
Andy Goss
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A deceptive read, layered, faceted, elusive. Yes, it's about an engineer who has an interest in the movements of sand. But that is a narrative thread, which leads the story from The Great Ocean Road to France, more sand, more life, some learning, which, like the best learning, is absorbed unnoticed. Then back, to the Great Ocean Road and its sands. Art, music, philosophy, and how we might interact with the world, A Sand Archive urges us to reflect on our times, times gone, times to come, but lea ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this for a book group and was one of only two who didn’t love it. I enjoyed much of the language and thought the characters were well drawn. My main criticism was the frequent reference to other authors, some of whom are hardly well known. Other readers in the group either understood the references or skipped over them. But I assumed they were there for a reason so had to investigate them all. The use of French also irritated me, especially when it wasn’t translated. I can read French but ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: from-the-library
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Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was deeply moved by this wonderful insight into life, love and passion. My dear wife picked this out for me and that is even more special. There is a lot to learn about life in these pages and I strongly commend this work to anyone who thinks about what we’re here for.
Barbara Whitehead
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I initially thought this was too intellectual for me but glad I stuck with it.
I learnt about the 1968 French revolution, the murders in 1961. Mondarian art etc.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
'We are no longer natural enough to be quite one with nature, but not yet sufficiently spiritual to be quite free of nature.' Mondrian
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Most interesting when the protagonist studies in Paris, encountering student and worker protests. Most mundane when describing his life as an council engineer. I've read better Gregory Day books.
Phillip Ramm
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn't like it so much.
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Nov 19, 2019
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Jan 19, 2020
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Feb 01, 2020
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Jul 11, 2019
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Mar 28, 2020
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Jul 13, 2018
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Aug 25, 2019
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Jul 13, 2018
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Aug 26, 2019
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Gregory Day is an Australian novelist, poet and musician who is best known for his Mangowak novels,

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