A Sand Archive

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Shortlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Award 

Long before I ever met him I knew his name from the leaky dessicated type of a grey-brown slim volume, cheaply printed but essential to my research...

Seeking stories of Australia's Great Ocean Road, a young writer stumbles across a small, technical manual from a minor player in the road's history: Dune Stabilisation and Other Engineering Difficulties by FB Herschell.

It is a volume unremarkable in every way, save for the surprising portrait of its author that can be read between its lines: a vision of a man who writes with uncanny poetry about sand.

And as he continues to mine the archive of FB Herschell - engineer, historian, philosopher - it is not the subject, but the man who begins to fascinate. A man whose private revolution among the streets of Paris and dunes of France begins to change the way he sees Australia's most famous coastal road...

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