Alan Gould (1949– )

Alan Gould


Alan Gould has published eight novels, 13 volumes of poetry and two collections of essays. Born in 1949 of English/Icelandic parentage, he came to Canberra in 1966, where he has practiced as an author for over 40 years. Among his many awards for both fiction and poetry are the NSW Premier’s Literary Award (1981), the NBC Banjo Award (1992), the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry (2006), and he has been shortlisted for both the Miles Franklin and the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Visit him at



Capital, Puncher & Wattmann, 2013

Folk Tunes, Salt Publishing, 2009

The Past Completes Me, Selected Poems, University of Queensland Press, 2005

A Fold in the Light, Indigo, 2001

Dalliance and Scorn, Indigo, 1999

Mermaid, Heinemann, 1996

Momentum, Heinemann, 1992

Former Light, Selected Poems, Angus & Robertson, 1992

Years Found in Likeness, Angus & Robertson, 1988

The Twofold Place, Angus & Robertson, 1986

The Pausing of the Hours, Angus & Robertson, 1984

Astral Sea, Angus & Robertson, 1981

Icelandic Solitaries, University of Queensland Press, 1978


The Seaglass Spiral, Finlay Lloyd, 2012

The Lakewoman, Australian Scholarly Press, 2009

The Schoonermaster’s Dance, HarperCollins, 2000

The Tazyrik Year, Hodder, 1998

Close Ups, Heinemann, 1994

To the Burning City, Heinemann, 1991

The Enduring Disguises, Angus & Robertson, 1988

The Man Who Stayed Below, Angus & Robertson, 1984; St Martins (USA), 1984; Hollandia (Holland), 1986; Gallimard (France), 1987; Grafton (UK), 1988


Joinery and Scrollwork, Quadrant Books, 2013

Bolero and the Sea, Quadrant Books, 2013

The Totem Ship, Duffy and Snelgrove, 1996

Three Streets in Search of an Author, National Library of Australia Publishing, 1993

The Lake Woman cover image

The Lakewoman

With his eyes closed against his death, his fists tight shut like an infant in its first seconds, Alec sucked at the good air. And for the moment, it seemed, the treacherous terrain of Normandy, having pushed its black waters into his ears, his nostrils and down his windpipe, would permit him to live just a little further into his promising future.

He opened his eyes to the roaring dark, but could not prevent the vivid scenes of his last five minutes from compelling themselves on his mind’s eye. They whelmed. From the fuselage tangle of limbs he had managed to kick free. His leap into the streaming dark had been his best choice in the circumstances, the subsequent rescue from this transformed, waterlogged land, must count, he supposed, as rather extraordinary. He stared into jags of blackness, the glint of the pools like knives glimpsed in a drawer.

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I’m alive, just, he might have concluded gratefully.

But he could not stop blubbering. It came from some depth in his being and with the woman watching him now, as though he were a repellent thing, he felt ashamed. He also trembled helplessly, again as though from the core of his being.

Are you sure you’re up to the business, old china? offered the severe voice of his parachute training.

Give it my best shot, he wanted to say if his body would but allow it.

Your near-death recedes from you already, Dearborn. Eye on the job.

Ah, but he could not compose himself. Some old trust had burst its banks in him, taken his self-possession by surprise.

‘Winded me,’ as his good nature used to say when he copped one on the playing fields.

He was a young man, large of frame, amiable and appraising in his manner. The military regimen of the last three years had toughened the physique of the school rugby player and long-jumper, and never before in his life had Alec Dearborn reason to believe he was given to nervous bodily reaction.

So! Are you sure you’re up there, old man?


As he vomited he also wondered why this sudden young Mamzelle happened to be present at the exact, unlikely spot in France where his foolish body had come to earth. It was a question that would usefully occupy his mind later, when he was behind the wire with the austere leisure to brood on the magic that settled into his life following this, his fluky rescue.

From The Lakewoman, Alan Gould, Australian Scholarly Press, 2009.

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