The Plains by Gerald Murnane / ISBN 9781921922275 / 208-page paperback from Text Classics
I think about this book all the time.
On their vast estates, the landowning families of the plains have preserved a rich and distinctive culture. Obsessed with their own habitat and history, they hire artisans, writers and historians to record in minute detail every aspect of their lives, and the nature of their land. A young film-maker arrives on the plains, hoping to make his own contribution to the elaboration of this history. In a private library he begins to take notes for a film, and chooses the daughter of his patron for a leading role. Twenty years later, he begins to tell his haunting story of life on the plains.
Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. One of Australia’s most highly regarded authors, he has published several volumes of fiction, including Border Districts, Stream System, and Barley Patch, as well a collection of essays, Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs, and a memoir, Something for the Pain. He is a recipient of the Patrick White Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature, and an Emeritus Fellowship from the Literature Board of the Australia Council. He lives in a small town in Western Victoria, near the border with South Australia.