It is two days since Dr John Brand's death and his eldest son, Davis, suspects a cover-up. Survived by two sons, the death notice said. Peacefully.

This is a lie: there are three sons, and the circumstances of their seemingly conservative father's death are unclear. No-one seems able to tell Davis, also a GP, where and when his father died, and with whom. And no-one except Davis seems motivated to get to heart of the matter. There is a Test Match being played, and Davis's brother Chris, a famous cricketer, is at the crease, feeling the pressure of batting to save a long and celebrated career. Their mother Margaret watches the broadcast, inert in her armchair. Hammett, the youngest brother, lurks on the edges of their minds, ostracised from the family because of a criminal past, but not forgotten.

Scattered over Sydney, the Brands' lives - and John Brand's funeral - are put on hold for the duration of the match: five days of suspense, silences, revelations, recriminations and redemption, as Davis uncovers the truth about his father and his sudden demise. Filtered through the lens of two arenas of masculinity - sport and pornography -  A Private Man is at once a poignant story of a family's grief, an artfully constructed thriller and a provocative and darkly amusing dissection of Australian men and their private passions.


Malcolm Knox

Malcolm Knox was born in 1966. He grew up in Sydney and studied in Sydney and Scotland, where his one-act play, POLEMARCHUS, was performed in St Andrews and Edinburgh. He has worked for the Sydney Morning Herald as a journalist since 1994, formerly as a cricket writer and now as its literary editor. His first novel Summerland was published to great acclaim in the UK, US, Australia and Europe in 2000. In 2001 Malcolm was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Australian Novelists. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.

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