Cover image for The adventures of Miles and Isabel
Title:
The adventures of Miles and Isabel
Author:
Gilling, Tom.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Miles McGinty
Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
198 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published under title: Miles McGinty. Melbourne, Vic. : Text Pub., c2001.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780871138613
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Gilling's "New York Times" Notable Book "The Sooterkin" was called "extraordinary . . . like Alice Hoffman, Sherman Alexie, or Gabriel Garcia-Marquez." With his second novel, a delightful tale of true love in rough-and-tumble, turn-of-the-century Sydney, Gilling has "proved himself an exceptionally talented novelist twice over" ("The Age").


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Writhing with labor pains, the very pregnant actress Eliza McGinty is on stage portraying Hamlet in lieu of the drunken actor originally slated for the part, while in the audience the demure Mrs. Ernest Dowling is having contractions of her own. Miles and Isabel would share more than the same birth date in 1856; they would be children of the Industrial Revolution, fascinated by the power of turning cogs and flying machines. Isabel is the child of privilege and a victim of her own femininity in a male-dominated society, and Miles is the illegitimate son of an actress traveling as part of a levitation act, but their common love of invention and possibility would put them on a journey of souls destined to meet. Fantastical and magical, this novel is peppered with humor and the excitement of a time period laden with anticipation and opportunities for the creative, restless minds of innovation. --Elsa Gaztambide


Publisher's Weekly Review

Miles and Isabel, two Australians born on the same night in 1856, lead vastly different lives that nonetheless put them on a collision course in this second novel by Gilling (The Sooterkin). As children, both idolize the country's first balloonist, Tobias Smith, their infatuation sparking a mutual thirst for adventure and flying. Miles grows up the son of an actress, traveling Australia with his mother and later as the assistant of a levitator. When he comes into possession of a journal kept by Smith, his interest in flying becomes an obsession. Isabel, the youngest daughter of a prosperous Sydney banker, refuses to follow the prescribed route her mother has laid out for her: marriage to a suitably wealthy and dull businessman. Instead, craving independence, she rebels by traveling on her own and mingling with the rougher classes at horse races and in prospecting towns. Though the novel revolves around the inevitable meeting and love affair of Miles and Isabel, their picaresque journeys are peopled with quirky characters that lend the story delicious flavor and send it off on entertaining tangents. Wolunsky, the levitator, regales his audiences with fantastically spun tales of grandly tragic attempts at flight. Isabel's uncle, Dr. Galbraith, a bit of a Victorian mad scientist, attains minor notoriety when he assembles a "Genuine English Safety Bicycle." At times, the writing takes on an almost magical sheen, particularly in passages about flying and levitation. The love story that emerges towards the end is slightly contrived, but fits perfectly with the story's lightly comic, pleasantly wistful ethos. Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda revolves around similarly grandiose 19th-century dreams, but Gilling's novel is an altogether airier affair. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Australian author Gilling has already established his credentials here; his first novel, The Sooterkin, was a New York Times Notable Book and received a star from LJ. This work concerns the uncanny bond between two children born moments apart to an actress who goes into labor onstage and a member of the audience. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.