... [Murnane's] writing is unlike anything being published today. It could be the way Murnane works his prose, filling it with repetitions and pulling out commas so the syntax shines like glass; or it could be something about all these nameless men and boys walking their small parts of Australia, dreaming about women and grass and clouds. In any respect, Murnane is one of the rare few actually working to alter the experience of reading fiction, and it is time his works are recognized more fully in this regard ... Murnane does not write for an audience, that much is clear. His repetitive and sometimes off-putting style has borne its fair share of detractors. But unlike most writers in this line, Murnane also does not seem to be writing deliberately away from an audience, or in other words, being difficult for the sake of being difficult ... Like Henry James, Murnane is committed to pushing the boundaries of what fiction can do; his works as a whole demonstrate a continuing and strengthening commitment to this single, massively interesting idea, which is something like the representation of his own mind.
Murnane’s use of language can be surgically precise—to where he uses precision to create and remove ambiguity ... Though Murnane’s use of language can be infinitely precise, his intentionally may be vague. In many of the stories the reader has to figure out, is Murnane writing about right now, or about the past from a perspective in the past, or about the past from the perspective in the present ... Murnane sometimes writes In a style reminiscent of Borges ... To sum up, Murnane writes in a variety of styles, sometimes varying styles within the same short story: a mixing of Proust-like memoir with Kafka-like foreboding and Borges-like recursion. The problem is almost all of Murnane’s stores are narrated in a flat, unemotional affect, while for many of the stories, Murnane’s technique overwhelms and becomes the story more than the story in and of itself. This collection was exhausting. A little Murnane goes a long way.
This gathering offers some of the Australian author’s familiar themes and writing that is eccentric, thought-provoking, and maddening ... There are undoubtedly serious intentions here, and certainly some metafictional fun, but the style is too often dreary, the point elusive, the effect irksome and disappointing.