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Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Adventures of Miles and Isabel

by Tom Gilling

“A brilliant flight of seduction. . . . The Adventures of Miles and Isabel is a novel of dreams and fantasy and not a little theatricality, all solidly rooted in honest scientific inquiry and experimentation. . . . A breath–no, a blast–of fresh air, a novel that is at once economical and lyrical. . . . [Gilling] has an appealing comic flair. . . . [He] makes readers want to believe in dreams and love–and gives us every reason to do so.” –David Willis McCullough, The New York Times Book Review

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 208
  • Publication Date September 22, 2003
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4019-7
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $12.00

About The Book

In a crowded playhouse in 1856 Sydney, Australia, two spectacular lives are about to start. During her scandalous turn as Hamlet, a heavily pregnant (and unmarried) actress unexpectedly goes into labor onstage, shocking the audience. Indeed, one patrician spectator–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.

The Adventures of Miles and Isabel is a delightful novel of true love in rough-and-tumble, turn-of-the-century Sydney. A best-seller in Australia, it follows the separate but strangely converging lives of these two young daredevils. Miles becomes the subject of a sideshow levitation act while Isabel gamely foils her mother’s attempts to marry her off to a rich boor. Fearless as she is, Isabel is briefly famous as a hot-air balloonist. Miles develops his own fascination with flight and, when he finally meets the captivating Isabel, is preparing to risk his life by testing his first flying machine. United by the dream of flight–and true love–the couple attempts 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 Library Journal compared in a starred review to Alice Hoffman, Sherman Alexie, and Gabriel Garc”a M”rquez. It confirms Tom Gilling’s status as a major literary voice.

Tags Literary

Praise

“A brilliant flight of seduction. . . . The Adventures of Miles and Isabel is a novel of dreams and fantasy and not a little theatricality, all solidly rooted in honest scientific inquiry and experimentation. . . . A breath–no, a blast–of fresh air, a novel that is at once economical and lyrical. . . . [Gilling] has an appealing comic flair. . . . [He] makes readers want to believe in dreams and love–and gives us every reason to do so.” –David Willis McCullough, The New York Times Book Review

“A pretty tale of a young man filled with dreams and daring, and a young woman of strong will and unconventional behavior.” –Barbara Fisher, Boston Globe

“Rich with allusions and anecdotal beauties. . . . [The Adventures of Miles and Isabel] offers a world of possibility, where the nature of reality extends only as far as the borders of dreams.” –Clay Matthews, Big Muddy Review

“Fantastical and magical, this novel is peppered with humor and the excitement of a time period laden with anticipation and opportunities for the creative, restless minds of innovation.” –Elsa Gaztambide, Booklist

“[Miles’s and Isabel’s] picaresque journeys are peopled with quirky characters that lend the story delicious flavor and send it off on entertaining tangents. . . . The writing takes on an almost magical sheen.” –Publishers Weekly

“A delightful second novel . . . Rich and amiable, with a fresh wit and a good eye for history.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Wonderful and magical. . . . A great book for all collections.” –Library Journal

“Gillings wonderful novel blends Dickensian characters and Baricco’s flair for digression with a love story possessed of the simple moral force of a fairytale.” –Chris Power, The Times (UK)

“A rivetingly engaging romance of adventure and self-fulfillment . . . this is the work of a disciplined virtuoso writer. . . . A triumph of imagination!” –Weekend Australian

“Tom Gilling is a naturally gifted writer. He celebrates imagination. Highly recommended.” –Canberra Times

“The characters live and kick, and the detail is unfailingly deft.” –The Bulletin (Australia)

“There are echoes here of Angela Carter’s classic Nights at the Circus and Paul Auster’s Mr. Vertigo. Hot on the heels of his well-loved first novel, The Sooterkin, Gilling again produces the goods.” –Qantas (Australia)

Awards

New York Times–Notable Book for 2002
New York Times Book Review–Notable Fiction 2002