This is an ambitious book, both in form and content, but one the judges believe has the power to change Australians’ understanding of their land and history.
Nicolas Rothwell uses a form – the essay – which is not always easy to carry off but which here amplifies his efforts to describe the nuances of our national history and culture.
Rothwell has created a work of art and an act of reconciliation through his stories of landscape, memory and meaning. His work is elegant and complex and he skillfully links ideas, events and people across the hemispheres, making surprising and rich connections between the ancient lands of Australia and Europe and beyond.
Rothwell’s rendering of landscape and place is deeply sensual and evocative. He encourages us to think outside the usual metropolitan focus. He demands our attention be given to an Australian landscape both familiar and alien and one with which he deeply connects.
Rothwell is a practiced and erudite observer and Quicksilver is a book that showcases his breadth of reading and reflection on issues of place and identity.
The judges described this book as contemporary in its outlook - a book of our time – but one, which will endure.