Nominated by:

The National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia

The State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Publisher of nominated edition:

Allen & Unwin, Australia

Questions of Travel

Michelle de Kretser      

2014 Shortlist

Judges’ Comments

This is an outstanding story of two diverse characters, a Sinhalese man, Ravi, and an Australian woman, Laura.

Ravi is forced to leave his homeland, Laura chooses to leave hers. Each of their stories is told in alternating chapters, each of their lives reflecting upon the other.

This novel explores questions of identity, of displacement and belonging; of freedom and oppression; of love and hate, in prose that mesmerises, surprises, delights.

Set against the horrific backdrop of the civil war in Sri Lanka, hypnotic story-telling introduces an unforgettable cast of characters, each struggling to survive in their own way.

This is a big novel, dealing with big issues. But its humanity never flags.

A tour de force.

About the Book

A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories – from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

Award-winning author Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination – a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Australia. She is honorary associate of the English Department at Sydney University, and has worked as an editor and a book reviewer. Questions of Travel is her fourth novel. Her fiction has won awards across the world.

Librarians’ Comments

Michelle de Kretser’s telling of contemporary life in Australia through her protagonists Laura and Ravi is a very amusing and, at the same time, an intensely moving novel. Through themes of travel, work and dreams, the author has created an extraordinary work of imagination.

Conveyed through two very different perspectives, Michelle de Kretser’s double narrative traverses the world through three decades, exploring the changing nature of travel and tourism along with complex and topical universal themes. Rich in description, this expansive narrative’s vivid settings leap from the page. Questions of Travel has been short listed for a number of major Australian literary awards.

Related Entries