A Brief Affair

Alex Miller

A moving novel about storytelling, about truths, ageing and our desire to name and rename things, from two-time Miles Franklin Award winner Alex Miller.

From bustling Chinese streets to the ominous Cell 16 in an old asylum building, to the familiar sounds and sight of galahs flying over a Victorian farm, A Brief Affair is a novel of immense strength and clarity.

On the face of it, Dr Frances Egan is a woman who has it all-family, children, a loving husband and a fine career. Until a brief affair in China threatens to derail her, but at the same time opens to her a new sense of who she might become and what lies within her reach; an imaginative dimension of her life that is just hers in a way Fran’s career and family never can be just her own but must always be part of a shared responsibility.

This insight, and the discovery of a long-forgotten diary from the asylum, give Fran the courage to dramatically change her direction at the age of forty and to begin exploring the challenges of her creativity in an entirely new way.

Written with humour, warmth and wisdom, this perceptive and deeply compassionate novel explores the interior life and the navigation of love in all of its forms.

Praise for Alex Miller

‘More than one ghost haunts this tender novel about love in its many guises, condoned and illicit. In his deceptively simple, lucid prose, Alex Miller examines the emotional contradictions inherent in apparent opposites as his central character learns to draw strength and inspiration from unlikely places. Hauntingly beautiful, A Brief Affair will resonate long after its pages are closed.’ Sylvia Martin, author of Ink in Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer
‘Rare and radiant fiction. An indispensable novel.’ Australian Book Review on Autumn Laing

‘This is an amazing book. The reader can’t help but offer up a prayerful thank you that human beings still have the audacity to write like this.’ Carolyn See, Washington Post on Conditions of Faith

‘Bold, but brilliant, his simple voice turning this tangled tale of love, friendship and misunderstanding into something both powerful and deeply moving.’ Jennifer Byrne, Women’s Weekly on Coal Creek

‘Half a dozen of Miller’s novels are likely to be judged among the finest of the past quarter century. They were written in the course of a career that has showcased Miller’s subtlety, narrative craft, moral acuity and delight in writing about what he loves.’ The Weekend Australian

Modern & Contemporary Fiction

Alex Miller

Alex Miller is the award-winning author of twelve novels and a collection of essays and stories. His work is published internationally and widely in translation. Miller is twice winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, in 1993 for The Ancestor Game and in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country. He is an overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1993 for The Ancestor Game. Conditions of Faith and Lovesong are both winners of the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. In 2012, Autumn Laing received the Melbourne Prize for Literature for an outstanding contribution to Australian cultural life. Coal Creek won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 2014. Alex’s twelfth novel, The Passage of Love, published in 2017, is his most autobiographical work, a deeply moving masterpiece of the writer’s early struggles and loves from the vantage of old age.

Allen & Unwin

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