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Strangers did not, as a rule, find their way to Chez Dom, a small, rundown Tunisian cafe on Paris's distant fringes run by the widow Houria and her young niece, Sabiha. But when one day a lost Australian tourist, John Patterner, seeks shelter in the cafe from a sudden Parisian rainstorm, a love story starts to unfold. John and Sabiha's becomes a contented but unlikely marriage-a marriage of two cultures lived in a third-and yet because they are essentially foreigners to each other, their love story sets in train an irrevocable course of tragic events. Years later, living a small, quiet life in suburban Melbourne, what happened to them in Paris seems like a distant, troubling dream to John. He confides the story behind their seemingly ordinary lives to Ken, an ageing, melancholic writer who sees in his neighbours the possibility of one last simple love story. Told with Miller's distinctive clarity, intelligence and compassion, Lovesong is a pitch-perfect novel, a tender and enthralling story about the intimate lives of ordinary people. Like the truly great novelist he is, Miller locates the heart of his story in the moral frailties and secret passions of his all-too-human characters.
to Australia the minute my father dies. I know that. His death will be a relief for you. Well I’m not going to be defeated. I’m not giving up. I will still place my little daughter in my father’s arms before he dies. You’ll see! ‘They’ve offered him an operation,’ she said, ‘to remove one of his lungs, and then chemotherapy. But he’s not going to have any treatment. He’s going to leave on his own terms. That’s my father. He’s right.’ She went out to the kitchen and began washing up the piles of
bringing her floured fingers to her throat. ‘It’s all right,’ she said. ‘It’s all right!’ She even managed an odd little cackling laugh. ‘I ate a sesame biscuit and a piece went down the wrong way.’ She cleared her throat theatrically. The seismic tremor in her body was subsiding. It was all right. It was nothing to do with John. It wasn’t going to bring the house down. It was as if she had been slapped hard across the face by her sudden doubt and woken up. Of course she would have her child! Of
tell me to shut up?’ She turned her head and looked at him. He went on reading, as if he hadn’t heard her. After a minute he looked up from the book thoughtfully. ‘I wasn’t sure I’d heard you right,’ he said, then smiled. ‘There probably is something wrong with me, darling. You’re probably right.’ He laughed and went back to his book. She turned over to face the wall. When he closed his book later and kissed her neck and said a soft goodnight, she could hardly bring herself to reply. What
child. She looked back over the years and saw that she had never had any other choice. She placed her hands on her belly and whispered, ‘My baby!’ The tears ran down her cheeks. ‘You are no longer alone, my darling.’ Chapter Twenty-Three Two weeks to the day after her seduction of Bruno, Sabiha woke in the night to feel the blood seeping from her. She knew at once it was not a miscarriage but was her period. The shock of it numbed her. Her body had rejected her. She cringed, bleeding into her
I’d begun having visions of him and Sabiha and their little girl and the baseball cap and Clare and me all sitting around our dining table looking at our food and wondering what the hell to say to each other. The Cap, I guess, would have one ear and one eye to the television replays. He doesn’t take the cap off while he eats. I told Clare I didn’t think he was funny. She said, ‘He’s only funny when he’s working.’ ‘So he’s a professional? No free stuff for us, eh?’ ‘I love him, Dad.’ This