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 it makes any sense. Martin sets off to Palermo in search of answers about his father’s activities, while Evie moves into Noah’s apartment, waiting to learn where her life might take her. Retracing their father’s steps in their own way, neither of his children can see the path ahead.
Gail Jones’s new novel tells a story about parents and children and explores the overlapping patterns that life makes. The Death of Noah Glass is about love and art, about grief and happiness, about memory and the mystery of time.
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. Her novel A Guide To Berlin was longlisted for the 2016 Stella Prize. Three times shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, her other prizes include the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction, the Nita B. Kibble Award, and the Age Book of the Year Award.
The Death of Noah Glass is a layered, thoughtful meditation on art, family, history, and the complex construction of the self.
Before Noah Glass’ body has had a chance to cool, his two adult children find themselves in the curious position of investigating whether his death was an accident. We flash back to Noah’s life as an art historian, and follow his children, Martin and Evie, as they consider the aspects of their father’s life that they didn’t know about as they process his sudden death.
The depiction of the multidimensional relationship between adult siblings – each equally compelling characters – in this singular novel is a constant delight. Jones achieves the considerable feat of presenting a novel of ideas with dense literary value as well as a page-turning plot.
Ultimately, The Death of Noah Glass is a well-crafted, detail-rich narrative from a multi-award-winning literary novelist who is at the peak of her game.
‘…this is an intellectually strenuous entertainment concerned with the nature and loss of senses, of filial obligations and their cost, of the vertiginous role of chance. Jones has challenged herself – and her readers – in another rich and accomplished work.’
Peter Pierce, Sydney Morning Herald
‘This polished, pensive novel that swirls so much about, tantalising with implications amid the patterned intricacy of linked scenes, returning symbols and motifs. It’s a book that needs to be read closely…The Death of Noah Glass is engaging. It’s a book about ways of seeing and about the gaps that persist between vision and understanding. And in the end this novel—which is dedicated to the memory of Jones’s father—is also about patrimony as the pattern and measure that fathers leave behind them.’ The Saturday Paper
‘From the Renaissance to the contemporary era, from Italy to Australia and back via Japan, Jones demonstrates not a quaint equivalence between the sister arts, but an unruly dynamic of disjunction, rupture, play and appropriation that sets off a force field of narrative and semiotic energies.’ Robert Dixon, Sydney Review of Books