Tuesday Book Club: Gregory Day’s “A Sand Archive”

Unlike most Parisian adventure novels, Gregory Day’s “A Sand Archive” begins in Geelong, Australia. There, the nameless narrator discovers a book about sand dune stabilisation by engineer FB Herschell, and becomes obsessed with its combination of statistics and poetry. When Herschell visits the narrator’s book shop by chance, the two form a great friendship- but it’s cut short by Herschell’s death, provoking the narrator’s search to uncover ‘the real Herschell’. This task takes him deep into Paris and simultaneously, deep into the fluidity of the sand dunes- an allegory of our human existence.

At first glance, Day’s novel sounds like a tale of escape and return, but upon closer inspection it’s so much more than the story of just one man.

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