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University of Queensland Press (March 2012)
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by Cleary, Simon

Closer to Stone follows two brothers from a small town: Jack, a soldier peacekeeper with the UN and Sebastian, a sculptor. Set in the early 1990s in northern Africa and in the US years later, it follows the journey of Sebastian (Bas) as he travels to Africa in search of his missing brother. His journey is a modern-day Heart of Darkness as he enters the dangerous, war-torn, desert interior of northern Africa to discover what happened to his brother.

What he finds there is not what he was expecting and has shocking consequences for him, his family and – ultimately – the Western world. Through the story of two very different brothers, raised as Catholics, Cleary also delves into the rise of fundamentalist Islam and its culmination in the terrorist attacks of September 11. However, the novel belongs to Bas who, through sculpting stone, attempts to find redemption from the dreadful events he witnesses in the desert.

SIMON CLEARY was born in Toowoomba in 1968, and studied at the University of Queensland. He currently works as a barrister in Brisbane, where he lives with his wife and two young sons.

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Cleary takes his characters to a frightening, unexpected place, allowing his work to break free of the shackles of literary expectations and achieve an originality of its own.

Review: Saturday Age

A compelling narrative, [Cleary uses] evocative prose ... and [has] an exquisite eye for detail.

Review: Weekend Australian

An engaging, page-turning adventure that takes a disturbing twist.

Review: Sydney Morning Herald

Winner of the Queensland Literary Award – Popular Choice category.

Quote: Queensland Literary Award

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