SMH – Beyond the Frame’s Edge

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Ashley Hay did a bio piece on me for Fairfax yesterday, 1/6/13.

Here’s a link to the original article, and below, an excerpt.

“He balances a warm affability against that sharp, wide intellect (and a poet; his work has appeared in journals including Meanjin and Overland). Because the thing he loves, apart from rocks, is language, and it’s in the considered clarity of his metaphors and descriptions that this novel lifts and shines: ”the sudden rush of air like earth turned chocolate, rain-damp gone sweet with smoke”. The opening scene is gloriously arresting: a woman skis over the edge of a cornice and a man leaps out in her wake. At the other extreme comes a catastrophic climb that is ”a fall but not a fall. The sensation not so much a movement down as a rushing of air amidst this pulling, the yawning spin of earth, one true piece of ground to which all things are drawn … and above, the sky. The sky. Thinning now but vast.” …

What draws these disparate parts together is Sellheim’s fascination with what he calls ”the tangible transcendental” – those things that are, literally, beyond the frame’s edge. They’re the shadows, the negative spaces, of things not quite there, not quite seen, not quite apprehended. And they underpin the relationships between several of Sellheim’s characters in different ways.

”I’m fascinated by what is beyond our capacity to know,” he says. ”It’s a wonderful question. It probably led me into writing poetry, and into writing the novel. You can evoke something in a way that means a reader gets it, and feels they’ve had something transmitted to them – but they can’t necessarily find a name for it. They can’t say it’s this.”

It’s a point of deliberate haziness in an articulate dissertation. ”My starting point is always language,” Sellheim says. ”Some writers begin with a great story; I have an idea, and I wonder about the relationship between language and that idea. My love of writing is very much the love of constructing sentences, feeling the textures of language and its music, and falling in love with it … that joy for me is a large part of the impulse to write.””

Beyond the Frame?'s Edge by Berndt Sellheim.
Beyond the Frame’s Edge by Berndt Sellheim.

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