MacLehose Press

The Vintage and the Gleaning

by Jeremy Chambers

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Smithy is a retired shearer turned vineyard worker in his autumn years. It is hard graft, but Smithy has always worked with his hands. Physically all but destroyed after a lifetime of hard liquor, but now sober, he begins to see the world with new eyes, a meditative, singular figure in the town’s bar on rowdy Friday nights.

But clarity can be a curse. Finally confronting his past, overwhelmed by long-buried feelings of regret, nostalgia and loss, Smithy steps in to help a young woman in a desperate situation. A cautious friendship develops, but Charlotte’s husband is widely suspected of murder, and Smithy begins to fear that he will pay a high price for his gallantry.

Written with an authentic music, and infused with beauty, brutality and sadness The Vintage and the Gleaning is a compelling observation of men, women and country. A remarkably accomplished debut novel.

‘A small gem of a book… Tiptoe though pages of beautiful prose, nodding in admiration at lovingly rendered descriptions’ Time Out.

‘The rhythms of this life, the work, the terse banter among the men, and the relentless desperation are economically conveyed … and the descriptions of ghost gums, the malignancy of circling crows and the omnipresent bleached, exhausted landscape are superb’ Catherine Taylor, Guardian.

‘Terrific Australian first novel … Chambers writes very powerfully about the sadness of memory’ Kate Saunders, The Times.

‘This is without doubt the most distinguished first novel by an Australian writer I have read for long time’ Andrew Riemer, Sydney Morning Herald.

‘What a stupendous book. A wonderful, gripping story, beautifully told. He’s the real thing’ M.J. Hyland.

‘The writing is powerful, challenging and authentic. I feel as if I’ve been waiting for years to read this strangely beguiling book’ Alex Miller.

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