Dying In The First Person

by nike, April 3, 2016


“This strange, dreamlike tale is an accomplished and beautifully written exploration of the nature of intimacy: between brothers, between lovers, between women. It also explores the nature and function of language, including some extraordinary set pieces on translation and grammar … [a] confident, sophisticated and imaginative novel.” Kerryn Goldsworthy in Spectrum / The Sydney Morning Herald.

Dying in the First Person is fable-like in its resonance, both emotionally and aesthetically. There is much to ponder on; particularly provocative are hints about the erasure of women’s identity and writing, as well as the complexities of writing from an “other” gendered position.” Elizabeth Lheude at Devoted Eclectic …

“One of those rare books that cracks the world open. Haunting, exquisite, startlingly original.” James Bradley, author of Clade

“Dreamlike and prophetic and true. Like the best translators, Sulway pushes language to defy its limitations, to defy our own.” Kristina Olsson, author of Boy, Lost and The China Garden

“For a book about grief and isolation, Dying in the First Person is surprisingly captivating; Nike’s writing smoulders with energy and there is beauty on every page. The story carries you away like an elegy. Ancient mythologies insinuate their way into the everyday lives of the characters, and the fascinating land of Nahum is never far away.” Angus Dalton in Good Reading. May, 2016.

Dying in the First Person achieves just that: it tackles a deeply affecting story in an original and lyrical way. It’s heartfelt but never sentimental … Sulway is a thrilling writer.” LS in The Saturday Paper.

“Nike Sulway’s Dying in the First Person is not a book you just read – it is one that you experience, one exquisite sentence at the time.” Dominique Wilson on Goodreads.

“It’s that rare book that is both accessible and sophisticated; and constantly surprising. It will linger in your mind long after you lay it down.” Rebecca Lim, author of the Mercy series and The Astrologer’s Daughter.

“Dying in the First Person, is a haunting, lyrical and evocative work that steps outside the boundaries of most existing literature and offers us something entirely new.” Cass Moriarty, author of The Promise Seed.

“The language in this book is beautiful, remarkable. The tone is almost Sebaldesque – the digressions, the stories within stories. There is such a rich, deep feeling about every paragraph, a feeling that what you’re reading is just the very surface of the story, that so much dwells beneath. And the last section is masterful – if you have any doubts early on, keep going: you will not regret it.” Jane Bryony Rawson, author of A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists and Formaldehyde.

Samuel and Morgan are twin brothers separated by several oceans. Once, when they were children, they shared a family, a childhood, and a secret imaginary world that had a language of its own: Nahum*. But that was decades ago, before Morgan became a wanderer whose only contact with his brother was the Nahum stories, and before Samuel became his brother’s translator.

When Morgan unexpectedly passes away in the Netherlands, the woman he was living with – the mysterious Ana – agrees to accompany his body, and his final Nahum story, home to Australia. What she carries home to Samuel is not just a manuscript, but a startling revelation.
In gorgeous and incisive prose, Sulway conjures a haunting, moving story of the complex relationships and allegiances of family life, of silence and memory, and the power of words and the imagination to transform everything.


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