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Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones
In Dreams of Speaking, Alice Black is a young Australian woman who has come to Paris to end a relationship with her lover and to write a book. The book is to be titled The Poetics of Modernity and is to be a treatise on the aesthetic beauty of modern devices of transportation. In Paris, though, she finds herself lonely and adrift, unaware that her sister back home has been diagnosed with cancer. Alice meets Mr. Sakomoto, a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb who is writing a book about Alexander Graham Bell. This unlikely couple create an intense friendship, sharing their love for modes of transportation and communication. When she goes to Nagasaki to visit Mr. Sakomoto, she finds that life can be brittle and modern inventions can also wreak terrible havoc. Gail Jones' novel has received mostly positive reviews with The Age saying, "Closer in many respects to poetry than prose, her writing seeks to articulate meanings that run deeper than language, while marrying that quest to the emotional rewards more commonly associated with the novel. And, in this, Dreams of Speaking is quite startlingly effective."