Winner of the Kibble Literary Award, Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Prize for Fiction, the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, The ALS Gold Medal, the Barbara Jefferiss Prize and the Indies Award.
On a radiant day in Sydney, four people converge on Circular Quay, site of the iconic Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Each of the four is haunted by memories of the past: Ellie is preoccupied by her experiences as a girl, James by a tragedy for which he feels responsible, Catherine by the loss of her beloved brother in Dublin and Pei Xing by her imprisonment during China's Cultural Revolution. Told over the course of a single Saturday, Five Bells describes vividly four lives which chime and resonate. By night-time, when Sydney is drenched in a rainstorm, each life has been transformed.
Australian novelist Jones follows four characters over the course of a single day in Sydney after they arrive at the democratic throng of Sydney Harbor Bridge. Ellie, a country girl enchanted with urban life (and, like many tourists, the famous Opera House building), has come to meet James, her first lover and spiritual inverse; he s morose and medicated where she is na ve and ebullient. They share space in the city and in the story with two others: Pei Xing, a refugee from Mao s cultural revolution who was imprisoned while her intellectual parents suffered arrest and execution and now relishes the city s vibrant beauty; and Catherine, an Irish woman haunted by her adored brother s untimely death. Jones tracks them through Sydney, separate yet connected, wrapped in their remembrances of things past, their guilt and regret, as the world swirls around them. With a tight focus and poetic language that recalls Virginia Woolf, Jones (Sorry) paints the connections that bind us, the power of place, and the random encounters that can change the course of our lives. An elegant literary meditation on time and chance.