Below the Styx – Michael Meehan

This month we planned to read Ulysses but halfway through the month we revolted and chose to read Below the Styx instead. Here is the description from theĀ  publisher…

Martin Frobisher has been beating close family members about the head with an epergne. Frobisher, successful publisher and community leader, is in the City Remand Centre, awaiting trial for murder. What shadow has fallen across the comfortable lives of Frobisher, his ambitious wife Coralie and her flaky sister Madeleine? What has led a cultivated and reflective man, known to shoo spiders and earwigs out of the harm’s way, to such reckless acts of violence?
With the prospect of imprisonment for the Term of his Natural Life, can Frobisher and his research assistant Petra find guidance in the life and fortunes of a brilliant young Englishman, marooned in Australia, ‘the land of vulgarity and mob rule’ more than a century earlier, and obsessed with the darker moments in the nation’s history? Why does Frobisher appear to care more, in the end, about the life of Marcus Clarke than he does about his own

This novel is written from Martin’s point of view and the lengths he takes to justify his actions are hilarious – ultimately he was driven to it for various different reasons, but mostly because of a fundamental incompatibility of philosophy. Interspersed in his reminisces about life with Coralie are his thoughts on Marcus Clark – a 19th century Australian writer – in fact he seems to identify with Marcus Clark I even wonder if he thinks he is Marcus Clark in a later life.

This novel is an easy read, full of interesting historical details. I think I will definitely chase down his other novels.

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