The Adventures of Miles and Isabel by Tom Gilling

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Tom Gilling's New York Times Notable Book The Sooterkin was called "extraordinary ... like Alice Hoffman, Sherman Alexie, or Gabriel Garcia Marquez," in a starred Library Journal review. 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). The Adventures of Miles and Isabel, already a best-seller in Australia, begins with two spectacular births on the same night in 1856. During her scandalous turn as Hamlet, a heavily pregnant (and unmarried) actress, Eliza McGinty, unexpectedly goes into labor onstage, shocking the packed house. Indeed, one audience member -- the patrician Louisa Dowling, who is also with child -- is so moved that she, too, goes into labor. The babies born that night are Miles and Isabel, two dreamers destined to defy convention -- and gravity. Independent of each other, Miles and Isabel grow into strong-willed, adventuresome adults. Miles becomes the subject of a sideshow levitation act (he reveals a talent for floating six feet above the ground), while Isabel gamely foils her mother's attempts to marry her off to a rich boor. Miles eventually develops a fascination with flight and throws all his energies into building a flying machine. When he finally meets the beautiful Isabel, he is preparing to risk his life by testing his first prototype. United by the dream of flight -- and true love -- Miles and Isabel attempt to rise above the obstacles of class and physics that stand in their way. The Adventures of Miles and Isabel is a euphoric follow-up to the debut that The New York Times hailed as "jubilantly irreverent" and "irresistible entertainment," and confirms Tom Gilling's place as a major literary voice of today.

About Tom Gilling

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TOM GILLING writes for Rolling Stone, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, and many other publications. His first novel, The Sooterkin, was a New York Times Notable Book and won international acclaim. It was short-listed for the prestigious Vance Palmer Fiction Award and Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in Australia.
Published October 1, 2002 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 208 pages
Genres: History, Romance, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Romantics would say that certain people are destined to be together: Miles and Isabel certainly look like candidates.

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