• Thinking AloudRandolf Stow






Gabrielle Carey is a writer, essayist, teacher and occasional academic.

Gabrielle Carey has emerged from retreat  with her new book  Moving Among Strangers, due for release on October 23. 

‘I still revere Stow as probably my favourite Australian writer.’ – Tim Winton

Moving Among Strangers is a pilgrimage story tracing my search to understand the visionary yet elusive Australian poet and novelist, Randolph Stow.

It is also a story about families, about who gets to tell the family story and who owns the narrative.

‘Family stories are full of secrets. And the story we get to hear depends

upon the teller. The big question is who gets to be the storyteller. Who

gets to own the official version? Who is the trusted narrator?’

Moving Among Strangers returns to the story of Alex Carey, first told in my 1992 book In My Father’s House.

Randolph Stow and my father first crossed paths in Geraldton, the small Western Australian town where both men grew up. Both men rejected their colonial family heritage and both travelled to England to begin academic careers. While Stow retreated to rural Suffolk ‘to rusticate’ and write fiction, my father returned to Australia, and to the life as an academic and an activist. The final point of common ground for these two talented men from rural Australia was a suicidal impulse. Where Stow fortunately failed, my father succeeded.

The title of the book is taken from Stow’s novel The Girl Green as Elderflower:

   ’Truly there is in the world nothing so strange, so fathomless as love. Our home is not here, it is in Heaven; our time is not now, it is eternity; we are here as shipwrecked mariners on an island, moving among strangers, darkly. Why should we love these shadows, which will be gone at first light? It is because in exile we grieve for one another, it is because we remember the same home, it is because we remember the same father, that there is love in our island.’