Remnants Cover


After the death of his beloved wife, retired barrister Mitchell Granville succumbs to loneliness and tracks down his less conservative younger brother, only to be taken on a trek across Australia and a journey through his past, forcing him to re-evaluate how he has lived his life.

Published by Pandanus Books, 2005, ISBN 1 74076 130 8

Launched in Canberra on 30 March 2005.

‘Featherstone cleverly constructs his plot, providing numerous twists. He keeps the revelations coming at a steady speed, slow enough to avoid turning the novel into a thriller, yet fast enough to keep the reader engaged. Many of [the main character’s] struggles and concerns are universal, thus making the novel accessible to readers of any age, sexual preference, or nationality. Although he does not stun the reader with remarkable lyricism or turns of phrase, like Winton or Carey, Featherstone is a fine writer who stays in the shadows, content to keep the focus on the narrative. Remnants is an excellent novel, one that is both thought provoking and a pleasure to read. In a culture obsessed with youth, it is refreshing to read a novel that examines the life of an elderly man. We can only hope that Featherstone will write more novels and find a wide audience.’
Nathanael O’Reilly, Antipodes – Journal of the American Association for Australian Literary Studies, December 2005

‘An inversion of the classic road novel...Remnants is a story about how things are different from their surface appearances; about how the ability to see beneath the surface is a necessary part of human relationships; and about the unreliability of memory. I reviewed Featherstone’s excellent collection of short stores, Joy, a few years back, and I’m delighted that his first novel is so good. Featherstone has written an insightful novel.’
Glenda Guest, Artlook
No. 9, March 2005

‘Remnants is a novel about the spiritual and physical journey of one man [and] Featherstone handles this popular topic with great skill and a delicate literary touch. Nothing is finer in a work of fiction than understatement when it is well handled, as it is here. This is a very real Australia. There are no cartoon Aussies or eccentric bushies. In his quiet, skilful handling of this world and its characters, Featherstone is the inheritor of one of Australia’s greatest articulators of Australian middle class, Randolph Stow. Featherstone is like Stow too, in his rejection of the larger-than-life characterisation for the precision of a finely drawn reality. By the end of the novel I had come to care for these characters. Such caring, I believe, shows the strength of Featherstone’s writing. Remnants is a fine piece of fiction, deserving of a wide audience.’
Susan Errington, Wet Ink, Autumn 2006

‘Featherstone’s… control of the novel’s style ensures a good read. The story line is effectively simple, [creating] an uncomfortable revisiting of the past. Remnants may sell as many copies as The Latham Diaries did in one big shop in one day, but that’s par for the course, especially when it comes to literary fiction. That Pandanus has survived and thrived is good to know, and the encouragement given to promising authors like Nigel Featherstone is commendable.’
David Owen, Island 103, Summer 2005

‘In telling stories of specific individuals in unique situations, novelists illumine important aspects of the general human condition. Nigel Featherstone does this very well in Remnants, a novel that relates directly the post-retirement discoveries of successful Sydney barrister Mitchell Granville, while prompting the reader to consider serious broader questions about all lives, their origins, purposes, justifications and relations. Despite the psychological shadows inhabiting Remnants, most readers will find Featherstone’s revelations satisfying and will feel that they have discovered a mature new novelist.’
Tony Smith, API Review of Books, Issue 38, October 2005

‘[Remnants] confronts some of the issues of social class, status and tradition in our society. The Granvilles are “the establishment” but are revealed to be as fallible and flawed as most. This is a beautifully written book. It’s subtle, soft, sensitive and subdued, and the title is apt. After the cloth is cut and the substantive garment is made, what is discarded are the remnants.’
Warren Brewer, The Mercury Magazine, April 2 2005

‘Amazing grace achieved through devious means. The pathos of Remnants builds patiently towards an ending that is left ajar if it is not exactly indeterminate. This is a skilled debut for Featherstone as a novelist, in which he tests and pleases himself, with undeniable benefits for his readers as well.’
Peter Pierce, Canberra Times, 27 March 2005

‘Nigel Featherstone’s Remnants is a journey narrative and [is] a solid exploration of age. Moreover, in Remnants we find a finely honed perception of the social environment. I settled into enjoying a comedy of manners, as this oddest of couples begin their trek back across the continent towards their childhood home, stopping at several points along the way. But Featherstone’s novel plumbs deeper than comedy, and by the end a more complex relationship between the two brothers has been revealed. Written with sensitivity and skill.’
Sarah Dowse, Eureka Street,
June 2005

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