The Glade Within the Grove

David Foster

In the tradition of novels by Saul Bellow, James Joyce and Flann O’Brien. Championed by E Annie Proulx.

The year is 1995. D’Arcy D’Oliveres, erstwhile postman of Dog Rock, English emigre long settled in Australia, and baronet, has retired. Turning out some old mailbags during his last days at work, D’Arcy discovers at the bottom of one of them an undelivered package. It turns out to contain the manuscript of an epic poem called the Ballad of Erinungarah which tells of a time in the 1960s when a commune settled in a hidden valley deep in the forest country of the far South Coast of Australia. Through the power of the ‘sacred pump’, green munga, and emasculation the valley was revealed to the commune as the Land of the Ever Young, a place hinted at through centuries of spiritual and historical writings. D’Arcy narrates the epic story in his typical obsessive and quirky manner, digressing here and there on subjects as diverse as penis rings and candle making, and makes passing references in his learned way to the writings of, for example, Apuleius (and other classical writers, whom he translates in hilarious free fashion), The Golden Bough, and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, amongst many.

This learned vernacular-mad genius is in the tradition of the narrators of novels by Saul Bellow, James Joyce and Flann O’Brien. The reader will at once acknowledge that here is a classic of 20th century fiction fit to sit beside Joyce’s Ulysses. The Glade Within The Grove is a novel which attempts to describe a Mystery. It is also a novel of high comedy, and palpable genius.

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