THE LOST PAGES by Marija Peričić, Allen & Unwin.
This debut novel from Marija Peričić is also this year’s winner of The Australian/ Vogel’s prestigious Literary Award. Set in Prague in the early 1900s, The Lost Pages purports to be a newly discovered memoir of Franz Kafka’s friend, fellow writer and literary executor Max Brod. But this is no dry exploration of the facts; it soars into an imaginative and Kafkaesque story of envy, madness, and identity. Unlike Kafka, Max Brod is not handsome, charming or talented, and when he reads his rival’s exceptional stories he feels “a slow horror”, and a “terrifying abyss” opens in front of him. The tension that pervades the relationship between the two literary men becomes intense and radiates doom. This interpretation of events is so original it’s gratifyingly impossible to predict its satisfying conclusion.