Firmly set in and inspired by the Australian landscape,Unaccountable Hours offers three stories about the passions and beliefs that consume the time we call our own – our unaccountable hours – whether in music, family, nature, love or friendship.
In ‘The Luthier’, musician Alton Freeman devotes his life to crafting a violin that will reproduce the perfect sound of Bach’s Partitas and Sonatas, as played by his idol, musician Monica Erica Grenbaum. ‘Ethical Man’ follows the biologist and birdwatcher Bartholomew Milner, who lives stringently according to his ‘Milner’s Ethic’, and is put to the ultimate ethical test whilst on a research expedition in the Australian outback. ‘Like Water’ tells the story of an unlikely friendship and subsequent romance that develops between kindred spirits Matthew and Beatrice – two soulmates born generations apart.
Throughout these ‘bite-sized novels’, Scourfield’s masterful language evokes landscapes both within and without: Cottesloe and the Swan River, Perth; Cremona, Italy; and the Little Sandy Desert, Western Australia.
Praise for Unaccountable Hours:
Scourfield knows and writes about the diverse environments of Western Australia in ways that bring those locations alive, as alive as the characters which people them, in these three very fine novellas…THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
There’s a creative intelligence at work in this book, diligently crafting the narrative intensity to nourish literature and help sustain cultural cohesion. The novella is a neglected literary genre, and to run three of them together in search of those unaccountable hours…is an idea worth celebrating.THE CANBERRA TIMES
These three novellas from Stephen Scourfield are written with sensitivity and grace and a strong sense of the unique beauty of the West Australian landscape…Scourfield’s talented novellas are buoyed by a strong gift for metaphor.THE AGE
The haunting quality of the Australian landscape that Scourfield evokes, particularly in the ocean (Like Water) and the desert (Ethical Man), is reminiscent of that in his first novel, Other Country, which is set in a similarly other-worldly climate, Australia’s Top End.AUSTRALIAN BOOK REVIEW
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