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Allen & Unwin
01 October 2020
Biography; Memoirs; Advocate - Australian Biography
'This book so beautifully evokes the power of places in shaping our consciousness and perception...

As readers of Alex Miller, we feel ourselves to be in the presence of a great heart and a penetrating sensibility, and in the thrall of one of our nation's most beloved writers.' Tom Griffiths, Emeritus Professor of History, ANU 'Max tells of Alex Miller's search -- in turns fearful and elated -- for the elusive past of Max Blatt, a man he loves, who loved him and who taught him that he must write with love. Miller discovers that he is also searching for a defining part of himself, formed by his relation to Max Blatt, but whose significance will remain obscure until he finds Max, complete, in his history. With Max, Miller the novelist has written a wonderful work of non-fiction, as fine as the best of his novels. Always a truth-seeker, he has rendered himself vulnerable, unprotected by the liberties permitted to fiction. Max is perhaps his most moving book, a poignant expression of piety, true to his mentor's injunction to write with love.' Raimond Gaita, award-winning author of Romulus, My Father I began to see that whatever I might write about Max, discover about him, piece together with those old shards of memory, it would be his influence on the friendships of the living that would frame his story in the present.

According to your 1939 Gestapo file, you adopted the cover names Landau and Maxim. The name your mother and father gave you was Moses. We knew you as Max. You had worked in secret. From an early age you concealed yourself - like the grey box beetle in the final country of your exile, maturing on its journey out of sight beneath the bark of the tree.

You risked death every day. And when at last the struggle became hopeless, you escaped the hell and found a haven in China first, and then Australia, where you became one of those refugees who, in their final place of exile, chose not death but silence and obscurity.

Alex Miller followed the faint trail of Max Blatt's early life for five years. Max's story unfolded, slowly at first, from the Melbourne Holocaust Centre's records then to Berlin's Federal Archives. From Berlin, Miller travelled to Max's old home town of Wroclaw in Poland. And finally in Israel with Max's niece, Liat Shoham, and her brother Yossi Blatt, at Liat's home in the moshav Shadmot Dvora in the Lower Galilee, the circle of friendship was closed and the mystery of Max's legendary silence was unmasked.

Max is an astonishing and moving tribute to friendship, a meditation on memory itself, and a reminder to the reader that history belongs to humanity.

'A wonderful book. It is a story that needs to be heard.' Jay Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History, Yale University 'Only a master of the craft of the novel could write a work of non-fiction of such quiet power and beauty.' Robert Manne
By:   Alex Miller
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 208mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   360g
ISBN:   9781760878160
ISBN 10:   1760878162
Pages:   280
Publication Date:   01 October 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Alex Miller is twice winner of Australia's premier literary prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, first in 1993 for The Ancestor Game and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country. He is an overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, in 1993 for The Ancestor Game. His fifth novel, Conditions of Faith, won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the 2001 NSW Premier's Awards. In 2011 he won this award for the second time with his novel Lovesong. In 2007 Landscape of Farewell was published to wide critical acclaim and in 2008 won the Chinese Annual Foreign Novels 21st Century Award for Best Novel and the Manning Clark Medal for an outstanding contribution to Australian cultural life. Following the publication of Autumn Laing he was awarded the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Literature in 2012. His novel, Coal Creek, won the 2014 Victorian Premier's Literary Award. The Simplest Words a collection of short pieces of fiction and non-fiction was published in 2015. Alex is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a recipient of the Centenary Medal for an outstanding contribution to Australian cultural life. Alex is published internationally and widely in translation. Alex's twelfth novel, The Passage of Love, published in 2017, was his most autobiographical novel yet, an ambitious story of the writer's early struggles and loves from the vantage of old age.

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