Damien Wilkins

The Miserables

Out of print title. Not available for purchase

Hide Description- Show Description+


Winner of the 1994 New Zealand Book Award for Fiction

The Miserables is the first novel by Damien Wilkins.

Brett Healey is thirty years old and looking for clues. Travelling to and from Wellington for his grandfather's funeral, he reflects on his past, finding patterns as he meets again the people who have meant most to him. Healey's high-speed, shoddy overheated mind detects clues to the present in an evocative return to his childhood and adolescence. In three days enough evidence is sifted to open up a new passage in his life. He gains, among other things, an appreciation for his odd beekeeping brother who, after all, labored beautifully; a recognition of his own capacity for articulate tenderness, as opposed to tongue-tied observation and judgement; a new sensation of calm, brought on by recalling his grandfather's communal spirit at the racetrack; a way of ranking the place his chosen profession plays in his identity; and a revived response to the beauty and familiarity of his birthplace. He could only make his peace by attempting to join together the landscapes framed in his parents' windows by rushing from room to room, much as a child runs through a quiet house early in the morning, upset that he is the only one awake.

Absorbing, beautifully written, and often very funny, The Miserables introduces readers to a young writer of uncommon distinction and authority.