Gilgamesh by Joan London
A Novel

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Synopsis

Gilgamesh is a rich, spare, and evocative novel of encounters and escapes, of friendship and love, of loss and acceptance, a debut that marks the emergence of a world-class talent. It is 1937. The modern world, they say, is waiting to erupt. On a tiny farm in far southwestern Australia, seventeen-year-old Edith lives with her mother and sister, Frances. One afternoon two men, her English cousin Leopold and his Armenian friend Aram, arrive -- taking the long way home from an archaeological dig in Iraq. Edith is captivated by the tales they tell of strange peoples, magical journeys, and a world far beyond the narrow horizon of her small town of Nunderup. One such story is the epic of Gilgamesh, the ancient Mesopotamian king who adventured throughout the world with his friend the wild man Enkidu, in search of the secret of eternal life. Two years later, in 1939, Edith and her young son, Jim, set off on a journey of their own, to Soviet Armenia, where they are trapped by the outbreak of war. A novel of stunning accomplishment, Gilgamesh examines what happens when we strike out into the world, and how, like the wandering king, we find our way home.
 

About Joan London

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Joan London is the author of Gilgamesh, which won The Age Book of the Year Award, was short-listed for the Miles Franklin Award, and long-listed for the Orange Prize, among many other honors.
 
Published May 6, 2004 by Grove Press. 272 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Edith, more conventionally, fell in love with a bad man: Armenian archaeologist Aram Sinanien, a friend of Edith’s cousin Leopold, who visited the Clarks on his return from a dig in 1937.

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The Guardian

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Here, the tyrant and demi-god Gilgamesh does what boys do best, playing with his toys - Matchbox tanks, plastic Action Man figures and cranes, Legoland cities - and throwing everything out of the pram (sorry, sandpit) like a monstrous baby suffering a titanic tantrum.

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

The Guardian

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The Play of Gilgamesh by Edwin Morgan 100pp, Carcanet, £9.95 The poet Edwin Morgan is a miraculous kind of writer in a personality-crazed age.

Jan 14 2006 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

The Guardian

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Surpassing all kings, powerful and tall beyond all others, violent, splendid, a wild bull of a man, unvanquished leader, hero in the front lines, beloved by his soldiers - fortress they called him, protector of the people , raging flood that destroys all defences - two-thirds divine an...

Oct 16 2004 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

The Guardian

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If I came back in six months' time and found that Pengelley had been replaced by someone doing Indian tapas, or that six months later they were doing Spanish tapas, or six months after that it was Tex-Mex, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Jul 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

The Guardian

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Gilgamesh by Joan London 272pp, Atlantic, £12.99 The Epic of Gilgamesh, the world's oldest known poem, is about a Sumerian king who has everything a man could want bar immortality.

Nov 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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And when their daughter Edith is seduced by the strange Aram (the driver for her mother's British friend), gives birth to baby Jim and a few months later sets off to seek the boy's elusive father in his remote country, one has entered the realm of the legendary and epic journey conjured by the bo...

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Book Reporter

When he grows up, Jack becomes a figure like Edith, journeying far, with the assistance of Leopold, to search out the legacy of Aram.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

Suite 101

During a heated moment, a man slaps a three year old boy who is not his son, nor a relation of his.

Aug 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

London Review of Books

Since much of Mesopotamian civilisation, especially writing, originated in the south – the medium for writing, clay tablets impressed with a reed, is well-suited to a riverine culture – the prestige of Sumerian meant that it occupied a place in the national curriculum long after it had become ext...

Apr 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

Time Out New York

£24.50 per person after the discount, (Friday nights + £5 Supplement fee per person)” Available Lunch & Dinner Sunday - Friday (Friday nights + £5 Supplement fee per person).

Oct 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

GQ magazine

020-7482 5757, gilgameshbar.com GQ Restaurant Guide 2009 in association with St Pancras International, St Pancras Grand and Eurostar

Jan 26 2009 | Read Full Review of Gilgamesh: A Novel

Reader Rating for Gilgamesh
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