7 ½ A Novel
By Christos Tsiolkas
Allen & Unwin. 2021
I read the entire book believing that it was a true recount and I kept waiting for the fictional story to launch and take over. It wasn’t until the end when I read the acknowledgements that I realised the lover the narrator referred to in the book was not the same lover that Tsiolkas dedicated the book to. As I investigated deeper, I realised that this realistic recount was in fact fictitious.
7 ½ is a unique text. It follows a writer who wishes to work in solitude so that he can write about beauty. He’s not sure that he can, as his usual style is grit and outrage. “You can’t write about beauty,” says his friend, “You’re shit at metaphor.” But he’s tired of being angry and no longer cares for politics. He thinks constantly about his lover and the beauty of their relationship while he writes a fictional tale about a porn star that he once idolised.
Tsiolkas strives to show the beauty in the everyday and yet his descriptions are still raw and gritty. However I think this is his point, to embrace the shocking truth such as the sweet stench of one’s own body odor. And speaking of scent, it is something that Tsiolkas does best; describing the depth of smells that we all know to be true but still make us blush.
After writing 7 breathtaking novels that have been awarded numerous prizes and adapted for screen, 7 ½ A Novel is something out of the box. It’s a story, a musing, an observation and a story within a story. It’s something for a reader to ponder long after finishing.
What's this about?
As a lover of books and a teacher, I read widely. Here you will find book reviews of many genres including picture story, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, women's fiction, short story anthologies, non-fiction and anything else that takes my fancy.