The Passage of Love is a moving novel from one of Australia’s most beloved authors, two-time winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Alex Miller.
Both intimate and epic, Miller’s autobiographical novel begins as the story of Robert Crofts, whose father, after serving in World War II, returns to the family’s London home psychologically damaged and abusive. At sixteen, Robert flees his childhood home for the Australian outback, where he works for years alongside Queensland’s legendary black stockmen. When he comes to understand that the outback is not his true home, nor is working there his destiny, Crofts moves to cosmopolitan Melbourne. There he meets Lena Soren, who, it soon becomes clear, is the true center both of this story and of Robert’s life.
Lena is a charismatic, talented, passionate, and restive woman who defies convention in both subtle and exuberant ways. As her and Robert’s intimacy deepens, Lena struggles to free herself from the familial demands and social norms that suffocate her. Very much in love, Robert follows Lena to the end of the earth and back again as their relationship nourishes both his artistic aspirations and her ever stronger sense of self.
As a saga about a modern country defining itself through experiments in social costume and shifting mores, The Passage of Love is incisive and fascinating. As the story of a man’s calling, of a woman’s insistence on carving out an unconventional destiny for herself, and of the many, mysterious facets of love, it is unforgettable.
Alex Miller is the two-time winner of Australia’s premier literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award, and winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for The Ancestor Game. His novels have been translated into over a dozen languages.