I’m pleased to report that my next novel, The Claim, was long-listed for the national Michael Gifkins prize. The prize is run by Australian publishers, Text Publishing, and is for an unpublished novel by a New Zealand author. This was its first year.
Sadly, it did not get to final short-list of three, but even reaching the long-list from 182 entries is satisfying. The next step is to arrange for publication.
The book is set in New Zealand, and is very loosely based on George Eliot’s Silas Marner – in my opinion, one of the most perfectly crafted novels ever written. As in that, the story is built around a man’s struggle between the lure of gold and of love. In the process, it explores the parallels between prospecting, story-telling and love, and suggests that all three depend on the willing suspension of disbelief.
The blurb for the cover is likely to go something like this:
On his claim in a remote valley, in the western hills of South Island, Evan Cadwallader prospects for gold, disaffected with life. On a stormy night, he rescues a young woman, suffering from hypothermia and close to death. He carries her to his cottage and nurses her back to health – and thus starts an enigmatic relationship in which truth and trust and love seem never quite to be resolved. Who is she? Where did she come from? What is the secret of her life? Will she add to his disaffection and prove once and for all how deceitful life is, or lead him to a new beginning of hope and love?