Crossing The Lines, Sulari Gentill

Reviewed By
Gordon Duncan

"In the beginning she was a thought so unformed that he was aware only of something which once was not."

Edward McGinnity is a successful novelist who wants to write a novel about a crime writer. His character’s name is Madeleine d’Leon, a writer of the popular period crime novels. Madeleine wants to write a modern crime novel. Her novel’s character is also a writer.

"She called him Edward McGinnity. His friends would call him Ned."

Sounds simple so far, it’s not. Crossing The Lines is a work of Meta Fiction and the characters of Edward McGinnity and Madeleine d’Leon are both real and imagined. Not only are they writing crime novels, they are also characters in each other’s crime novels. As Crossing The Lines progresses the barriers between each writer and their character become blurred, they cross into each other’s lives, they question, advise and finally become attached to each other, if I was to say any more it would spoil the fun.

In her acceptance speech after Crossing The Lines won the 2018 Ned Kelly Award for Best Australian Crime novel Sulari Gentill said “Crossing the Lines is in many ways my love letter to writing, to a writer's life with all its highs and lows, its absurdities and privileges. This is very definitely a high and a privilege. To everybody who took a chance on this strange little book, thank you with all of my heart”. 

Crossing The Lines is more than a ‘strange little book’, it’s a wonderful journey into the mind and life of a writer with Sulari Gentill as an excellent guide to take you there.

Year of Publication

When Madeleine d’Leon conjures Ned McGinnity as the hero in her latest crime novel, she makes him a serious writer simply because the irony of a protagonist who’d never lower himself to read the story in which he stars, amuses her.

When Ned McGinnity creates Madeleine d’Leon, she is his literary device, a writer of detective ction who is herself a mystery to be unravelled.

As Ned and Madeleine play out their own lives while writing the other’s story, they find themselves crossing the lines that divide the real and the imagined.

This is a story about two people trying to hold onto each other beyond reality.

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